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Ahead Of U.N. MDG Summit, Media Outlets Examine Various Aspects Of Goals

Ahead of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit on September 20-22, the media examines different aspects of the MDGs.

  • The Daily Nation reports on a United Nations Development Program report which showed poverty eradication remained one of Kenya’s greatest challenges to meeting the MDGs. “‘Poverty is still at 2006 levels. While a significant amount of money and resources is required for basic social services, such as schools, hospitals and roads, a similar increase in capital expenditure is not being made,’ the report entitled Road to 2015: driving the MDGs says,” according to the newspaper. The newspaper also notes progress the country has made towards reaching the MDG targets, including increasing immunization coverage for children and improving maternal health (Otieno, 9/6).
  • The Phnom Penh Post reports on Cambodia’s achievements toward MDG targets, which have placed it “among the top five countries in terms of progress,” according to a recent Center for Global Development report. According to the newspaper, “Cambodia was found to be on track to achieve targets related to poverty reduction, education, gender equality, nutrition and water access,” based on data obtained from the World Bank. “It was also expected to reach 50 percent of targets related to maternal health and child mortality” (Lewis, 9/6). 
  • Speaking in Rwanda on Saturday during a two-day Africa Consultative Forum on the MDGs, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the role of foreign aid as well as “fair trading terms with other regions” in order to help countries achieve the MDG targets by 2015, U.N. News Centre reports. Ban spoke of some of the achievements Rwanda has made towards MDG targets during the meeting, before noting some of the challenges Africa continues to face in attempts to improve maternal health and drive down maternal mortality (9/4).
  • “The United Nations is ignoring the critical role of jobs and income equality in its 15-year strategy to fight world poverty and hunger – to the detriment of developing nations,” according to a critique released Friday by the U.N. Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the Canadian Press reports.

Though “the U.N. says it is on track to halve the number of people living on less than $1 a day by 2015, and that the picture is mixed for other … MDGs, in the fields of health, education and the environment,” the UNRISD report argues that not enough attention has been paid to the need for jobs to fight poverty, as well as issues relating to income inequality, the news service reports.

The Canadian Press continues: “People need jobs to combat poverty, the report essentially argues, calling for a shift in focus away from safety nets and welfare programs. It also urges new approaches to addressing rising income inequality.” The report also indicates that “development approaches that are too complex can be harmful: various health, education and services providers employing different strategies for different population groups results in ‘high costs, poor quality and limited access for the poor,’” according to the news service.The article points to recent World Bank estimates on the numbers of individuals who entered extreme poverty last year as well as the number of hungry and unemployed worldwide and includes comments from Nick McGowan, a spokesman for the U.N. Development Program (Klapper, 9/3).

  • Inter Press Service reports on how water and sanitation advocates are calling for leaders at the MDG Summit to focus greater attention on interconnectedness between issues relating to water and sanitation and the other MDGs. “According to the United Nations, over 800 million people worldwide have no access to safe drinking water while a hefty 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation,” the news service writes.

“Without water, we can never fight hunger; without toilets in schools, girls will continue to drop out before finalising their education; and without adequate sanitation and hygiene, diseases will continue to spread, resulting in increasing child mortality and bad maternal health,” Anders Berntell, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the host and organizer of the World Water Week in Stockholm. “Water should therefore be recognised as one of the most important cross-cutting issues to be addressed at the summit, with the recognition that increased financing at all levels of our society is urgently needed,” he added.

The article includes comments by U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migir during the U.N.’s High-Level Interactive Dialogue on Water last March, as well as Serena O’Sullivan of End Water Poverty and Aaron Wolf of Oregon State University (Deen, 9/2).