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U.N. Report Shows Significant Progress Toward Reaching MDGs, But Mixed Results In Some Areas

Significant progress is being made toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline, but the poorest countries are not progressing as quickly and more must be done to improve health and development outcomes in those nations, according to this year’s MDG report (.pdf), VOA News reports. “Despite the global economic downturn and the food and energy crises, we are on track to meet the MDG targets for poverty-reduction,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report on Thursday in Geneva (Schlein, 7/7).

UNHCR Says African Drought Threatens ‘Human Tragedy Of Unimaginable Proportions’

High rates of malnutrition in the Horn of Africa, combined with violence in Somali, “are threatening ‘a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions,’ the UNHCR warned” on Wednesday, the AFP/Daily Telegraph/Vancouver Sun reports. More than 12 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda have been hit by severe drought and rising food prices, forcing thousands to leave their homes and seek assistance in already-overflowing refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, the newspaper notes (Flood, 7/7).

EU To Provide $14.5M For Emergency Food Aid To North Korea

“Responding to the growing threat of a humanitarian crisis in North Korea, the European Union announced on Monday that it will provide about $14.5 million in emergency aid to feed more than some 650,000 North Koreans,” the New York Times reports (Castle/McDonald, 7/4).

U.N. Women Report Examines Women’s Access To Justice Worldwide

“More than half of working women in the world, 600 million, are trapped in insecure jobs without legal protection, according to the first flagship report of the new agency U.N. Women. A similar number do not have even basic protection against domestic violence, it finds, while sexual assault has become a hallmark of modern conflict,” the Guardian reports.

India Must Not Become Complacent Despite AIDS Control Program’s Success, Prime Minister Says

“India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday hailed the country’s success in slashing new HIV/AIDS infections by half in the past decade, but warned against complacency,” Agence France-Presse reports. Speaking at a conference on AIDS in New Delhi, Singh said the country’s HIV prevention program “can justifiably claim a measure of success,” but “there should be no room for complacency,” as an estimated 2.4 million Indians are living with the disease, according to AFP.

TB Fight Must Break From Status Quo

“As WHO prepares for reform, it is also adjusting to a new financially constrained environment. WHO’s STOP TB department, like others, has to downsize and refocus its activities. With increasing demand for guidance, technical support, and capacity-building in countries, the STOP TB department and partnership will have to do more with less in the future,” a Lancet editorial states.

IPS Looks At U.N. Women Funding Levels

Inter Press Service looks at funding for U.N. Women six months after the organization launched. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “set an initial target of 500 million dollars as the proposed annual budget for the new gender-empowered body. But nearly six months later, the voluntary funding for U.N. Women (UNW) from the 192 member states has remained painfully slow,” IPS writes.

WFP Funding Shortfall Forcing Cutbacks In Afghanistan

“The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) is being forced by a funding shortfall to cut its recovery programmes in nearly half of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, a spokesperson said,” just as the country prepares for expected food shortages over the coming months, IRIN reports.