Friday, 18 June 2010

UN report focuses on best ways to meet UN anti-poverty goals ahead of September summit

via Khmer NZ News Media

Published Thursday June 17th, 2010
Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press

Cash incentives in Brazil and Mexico increased school enrolment and reduced child labour. A nationwide subsidized fertilizer program in Ghana boosted food production and decreased hunger. And a Cambodian program promoting 100 per cent condom use significantly reduced HIV infections.

The U.N. Development Program promoted these and other successes in a report launched Thursday on the best ways to achieve U.N. goals to fight poverty by the target date of 2015.

The report is aimed primarily at world leaders who will be attending a U.N. summit in September to review results so far and adopt an agenda to accelerate progress to achieve the goals in the next five years.

The report concluded that it's not going to be easy to meet the goals, but UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said they can be met if governments and key international players, including the U.S. and other major donor nations, join forces and accelerate progress to achieve them.

The Millennium Development Goals, adopted by 189 world leaders at a summit in 2000, include cutting extreme poverty by half, ensuring universal primary school education for all children, reducing child and maternal deaths, halting and reversing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and cutting in half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, all by 2015.

Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand, cited examples of a number of successes in meeting the goals: Tanzania increased school enrolment by over 90 per cent since 1991, South Africa cut in half the proportion of people without access to drinking water, Egypt's poverty rate has fallen by half since 1999, and Bangladesh reduced the ration of maternal deaths to live births by 22 per cent since 1990.

Clark said, however, the global recession, the food and fuel crises and the challenges of climate change and natural disasters "have complicated the road to 2015."

According to the UNDP report, 1.2 billion people across the world are still hungry, 70 per cent of them women and girls, and 1.2 billion people, mainly in rural areas, lack access to basic sanitation. Millions of children start school but drop out without learning to read or do basic math, and every year 536,000 women and girls die as a result of complications during pregnancy, childbirth or the six weeks following delivery.

The report includes a number of proposals to accelerate progress toward reaching the goals, among them: supporting development programs, promoting "job-rich" economic growth and focusing on agriculture in countries with large rural populations as well as improving opportunities for women and girls.

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