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U.N. Secretary-General Taps U.K. PM Cameron To Chair Committee To Develop New Set Of MDGs

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has been asked by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to chair a “U.N. committee tasked with establishing a new set of U.N. millennium development goals [MDGs] to follow the present goals, which expire in 2015,” the Guardian reports. “The invitation, accepted by the prime minister, represents a political coup for Cameron, who has stuck to the government’s commitment to increase overseas aid to 0.7 percent of U.K. GDP, despite the recession,” the newspaper writes. The MDGs — which “range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015” — “decide the international targets of global aid channeled bilaterally and multilaterally through organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF,” the Guardian notes.

“It is likely that Cameron will try to rethink the basis of the new goals and will draw on contemporary thinking about the best way to improve development,” the newspaper writes, adding, “The prime minister and his experienced international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, have wanted to shift the debate towards economic development, rather than providing funds to help the education of women and children.” According to the Guardian, “A government source said: ‘We want to refocus the goals to put economic development at the heart. The current goals focus on kids’ right to education, levels of infant mortality and so on. They are fine, but does an exclusive emphasis on them really help development? What about new goals to give people property rights or economic rights?’” (Wintour, 4/11).