Governments are falling well short of the financial commitments made to help developing countries climb out of poverty and meet other internationally agreed goals aimed at combating hunger and a host of other social and economic ills by 2015, according to a United Nations report launched today. Global poverty-fighting commitments are more important than ever in a world facing economic, food and climate crises, said the report, Strengthening the Global Partnership for Development in a Time of Crisis prepared by the UN’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Gap Task Force.
The report highlighted a gap of $35 billion per year on the 2005 pledge on annual aid flows made by the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries at a summit in Gleneagles, United Kingdom, including a $20 billion annual shortfall on commitments to Africa despite record levels of development assistance in 2008.
“We made substantial advances in strengthening the global partnership for development… before the financial and economic crisis began,” said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro at the launch of the report at UN Headquarters in New York. “We now need a new push to counter the threat the crisis poses to our hard won goals.”
Speaking as world leaders prepare for next week’s annual high-level debate at the General Assembly in New York and the summit in Pittsburgh, United States, for the Group of 20 (G20) leading economic nations, Ms. Migiro underscored the impact of the global recession, food shortages, an expected spread of influenza pandemic this year and climate change as barriers to realizing the MDGs.
Ms. Migiro also said that the Secretary-General has urged the international community to deliver on its long-standing commitments to increase financial and technical support to developing countries.
She noted that governments may be tempted to focus on narrow concerns in times of crisis. “This would be a grave mistake,” she stressed, adding that if recent events “have taught us anything it is that we are all interconnected.”
The MDG Gap Task Force – bringing together more than 20 UN agencies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – was created by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2007 to track global commitments on aid, trade and debt, and to follow progress on access to essential medicines and technology.
“The Millennium Development Goals are more than a set of targets,” said Ms. Migiro. “They are a solemn promise to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” she said at the launch of the 2009 report, which also heard from Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development; Olav Kjorven, Director of the Bureau for Development Policy at the UN Development Programme (UNDP); and Rob Vos, Director of Policy Analysis in the Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA).