UN Secretary General Ki-Moon for hastening MDGs pace

KATHMANDU: With only five years left for the 2015 deadline to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling for

the adoption of global action agenda for accelerating progress towards the goals.

“We must not fail the billions who look to the international community to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Declaration for a better world. Let us meet in September to keep the promise,” Ban said in his report, Keeping the Promise, issued today.

The report — which will serve as a basis for government deliberations on an action-oriented outcome document for the September 20-22 summit on the MDGs — identifies success factors and lessons learnt, highlights gaps, emerging challenges and opportunities, and lays out specific recommendations for action to boost progress towards the goals over the remaining five years.

Additional reports are expected, including the statistical

appendix to the Secretary-General’s report, in April; the latest official statistics on progress towards meeting the goals, in late June; and a more in-depth assessment of gaps in international cooperation, by early September.

“Our world possesses the knowledge and the resources to achieve the MDGs,” Ban said in the report, referring to the targets based on the 2000 Millennium Declaration, aimed at greatly reducing poverty, hunger, disease, maternal and child deaths and other ills by 2015.

Falling short of the goals “would be an unacceptable failure, moral and

practical,” the Secretary-General said. “If

we fail, the dangers in the

world — instability, violence, epidemic diseases, environmental degradation, runaway population growth — will all be multiplied.”

A number of countries have achieved major successes in combating extreme poverty and hunger, improving school

enrolment and child health, expanding access to clean water, strengthening control of malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases, and providing increased access to HIV treatment, the report points out.

These successes have taken place in some of the poorest countries, demonstrating that the MDGs are indeed achievable

with the right policies, adequate levels of investment, and

international support.

Yet progress has been uneven and — without additional efforts — several goals are likely to be missed in many countries, according to the report. The challenges are most severe in the

least developed countries, land-locked developing countries, some small island developing states, those vulnerable to natural hazards, and countries in or emerging from conflict.

The shortfalls in progress towards the MDGs are not because they are unreachable, or because the time is too short, the report states, but rather because of unmet commitments, inadequate resources and lack of focus

and accountability. This has resulted in failure to deliver on the finance, services, technical support and partnerships needed. As a consequence of these shortfalls, improvements in the lives of the poor have been unacceptably slow, while some hard won gains are being eroded by the food and economic crises.

Nearly ten years into the global effort to achieve the MDGs, the

report identifies a number of

key lessons learnt. Among

them, the most important is the national ownership of development strategies. Successful countries pursued pragmatic policy mixes, with enhanced domestic capacities. International cooperation should more strongly support such national development strategies and domestic capacity-building efforts.