WASHINGTON, D.C. – On August 14, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon released A Life of Dignity for All, a report highlighting updates on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and his vision for future development plans.
At a UN summit in 2000, global leaders created the MDGs, which set specific goals regarding poverty reduction, education, gender equality, child and maternal healthcare, environmental and climate stability, HIV/AIDS and malaria reduction, and a global commitment to development.
With less than 1,000 days until the MDG 2015 target date, Secretary General Ban reminded global leaders that much work still needs to be done to make sure the Goals are met. Globally, one in eight people still suffer from hunger and extreme poverty remains a reality for more than one billion people. Maternal death rates are still very high where causes of death are preventable and natural resources are decreasing as the world continues to focus on climate change.
In the report, Mr. Ban also voiced his concern regarding the decline in the amount of official development assistance (ODA) over the past two years. In fact, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ODA has decreased by six percent after experiencing a peak in 2010.
According to the report, ODA is vital to generating funding for developing countries as well as funding for conflict and disaster recovery. The Secretary General urged countries to meet the aid target of 0.7 percent of gross national income, a goal not many countries have met.
“Ours is the first generation with the resources and know-how to end extreme poverty and put our planet on a sustainable course before it is too late,” Mr. Ban reported. “Fulfilling our existing commitments and promises on the MDGs must remain our foremost priority. The report was released more than a month ahead of the General Assembly Special Event on the MDGs occurring at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 25 as well as the post-2015 development agenda. These upcoming events in New York will make up a week of MDG discussion among global leaders, as they will reflect on the makings of a post-2015 development framework. The report identifies the progress that has been achieved and dictates the steps that are needed to continue towards further global development.
Mr. Ban acknowledged that progress has been made, adding that the current generation has the ability to end extreme poverty and make the world a more sustainable planet as long as the MDGs remain a priority for the international community.
The report cited the need for an efficient and responsive sustainable development framework, creating a relatively new addition to the current plans. The Secretary General would like to see a wider range of targets in 2015 that could be applied to all countries no matter how different. In addition, Mr. Ban alluded to the importance of effective institutions, as well as adding a greater focus on sustainable development, accountability, and a sense of shared responsibilities to future development targets.
“No one must be left behind. We must continue to build a future of justice and hope. A life of dignity for all.”
– Elisha-Kim Desmangles