Bold steps needed to take on poverty: UN report

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 15:

The United Nations systems in Nepal today unveiled the UN Millennium Project report that urges all countries to adopt bold enough poverty reduction development strategies to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for 2015.

The report entitled ‘Investing in Development: a Practical Plan to Achieve the MDGs’ also recommends to align Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) with MDGs to meet the 2015 deadline.

Dr Shanker Sharma, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission launched the report today at a programme.

“The MDG-based poverty reduction strategies should anchor the scaling up of public investments, capacity building, domestic resource mobilisation and official development assistance,” recommends the report. Such strategies should also provide a framework for strengthening governance, promoting human rights, engaging civil society and promoting the private sector.

It has also recommended that the governments of developing countries craft and implement MDG-based strategies in a transparent and inclusive process, working closely with civil society, domestic private sector and international partners. Developed and developing countries should jointly launch in 2005, a group of ‘Quick Win’ actions to save and improve millions of lives and to promote economic growth.

The developed countries should also open their markets for exports from the developing countries and help the LDCs raise export competitiveness through investments in critical trade-related infrastructure. The Doha Development Agenda should be fulfilled and the Doha Round should be completed no later than 2006. The UN report also envisages that the MDGs could be met through a coordinated programme of well-governed investments in health, education and infrastructure in poor countries with increased donor assistance from rich countries and agreement on trade liberalisation in the Doha negotiations.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sharma said Nepal has already envisaged a plan of action in course of implementing MDG-based poverty reduction strategies in line with the PRSP. “The medium-term expenditure fram-ework, prioritisation of projects and setting time bound goals are some of the examples,” he said. Mathew Kahane, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Nepal, urged concerted efforts in meeting the MDG targets by 2015.