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UN poverty goals key as credit crisis hits poor

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th March 2009 03:00 AM

DAR ES SALAAM - The UN’s Millennium Development Goals was an ambitious agenda for reducing global poverty from the day it was endorsed in 2000, critics say, and may now appear unrealistic as the world grapples with the worst economic downturn since the

DAR ES SALAAM - The UN’s Millennium Development Goals was an ambitious agenda for reducing global poverty from the day it was endorsed in 2000, critics say, and may now appear unrealistic as the world grapples with the worst economic downturn since the

DAR ES SALAAM - The UN’s Millennium Development Goals was an ambitious agenda for reducing global poverty from the day it was endorsed in 2000, critics say, and may now appear unrealistic as the world grapples with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Not true, says the UN’s deputy secretary-general, Asha-Rosa Migiro. If anything, the goals, which include halving global poverty by 2015, have become more important to protect the world’s poor from the effects of the global crisis, Migiro observed.

So far, no country in Africa is on track to reach all of the MDGs on health, education, poverty eradication, human rights, equality and the environment.

“The MDGs were supposed to have a focused roadmap towards achieving sustainable development and they shouldn’t be reset,” Migiro said in an interview.

“If anything, they need to be reaffirmed, re-emphasised, because this is a time of crisis and at a time of crisis there really is a risk of people starting to reprioritise.”

She said governments needed to have as their vision MDG-based plans and strategies, which would help to mobilise resources.

“Those resources from rich donor nations will be critical to preserving more than a decade of socio-economic gains in Africa where countries are already hard hit by the global economic slowdown affecting demand for their goods.”

“The question arising now is, are we likely to get those resources especially for Africa which depends to a large extent on donor support?” said Migiro, who has called on industrial nations to honour repeated promises of increased aid to Africa.

Her call comes as Group of 20 leaders from developed and developing countries prepare to meet in London on April 2 to discuss responses to the global financial crisis.

The crisis has pushed industrial economies – which are the world’s biggest aid givers – into recession and significantly slowed growth in emerging market countries like China and India.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is expected to press countries not to forget the needs of Africa and to increase resources for the International Monetary Fund, which as the world’s lender of last resort, is at the frontlines of aiding countries in trouble.

But Migiro said Africa also needs to play its part by putting its house in order, which not only means becoming more accountable to its people but also cutting wasteful spending in its budgets to make more room for investment in health and education.

“They have to reposition themselves and their economies,” she said, adding: “Some countries are not making good use of the little that they have.”

Reuters

UN poverty goals key as credit crisis hits poor

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