Friday, September 14, 2007

Ban Ki-Moon calls attention

With most of sub-Saharan Africa currently off track for meeting goals for slashing poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy by 2015, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening an unprecedented meeting of development leaders to put the continent back on the rails to progress.

The MDG Africa Steering Group was set up by Mr. Ban after a report in June showed that despite faster growth and strengthened institutions, Africa at its present rate would fail to achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000.

At the G8 meeting in June, Mr Ban said,

This year marks the mid-point of our work to realize these goals by 2015. We have far to go indeed, especially in Africa. New statistics show we are making progress, but far too slowly to achieve the MDGS in time. This is why I have offered to chair a new MDG Africa Steering Group of all the major players to help refocus our efforts to achieve the MDGs in Africa. This will include the heads of the World Bank, the IMF [International Monetary Fund], the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, the AU [African Union], as well as the UN. I will chair the Steering Group and I welcome the support offered here in Heiligendamm for this initiative.

Achieving the MDGs will also depend upon a positive outcome of the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations and by serious follow-through on debt cancellation initiatives. I look forward to leadership by the G-8 countries in this regard.

This kind of international leadership is essential if the whole world community, rich and poor alike, are to work together to help the poorest countries lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

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