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UN chief reports progress in global partnership for development

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says there has been progress in achieving the goal of global partnership for development, the eighth goal in the anti-poverty goals, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by world leaders in the year 2000.

Ban, who spoke on Thursday in New York at the launch of the MDGs Gap Task Force Report 2013, entitled: “The Global Partnership for Development: The Challenge We Face”, however, said that the international community must live up to the commitments it made in support of achieving the MDGs targets.

He noted that despite significant successes, the global economic slowdown continued to hinder progress on the MDGs.

“New countries and other partners are stepping up. But all must deliver on commitments – on official development assistance, climate finance and domestic resource mobilization,” he told UN reporters.

The annual report prepared by the Task Force created in 2007 to track global commitments on aid, trade and debt, and to follow progress on access to essential medicines and technology showed that the international community must recommit to increasing aid and reaching an agreement on development-oriented multilateral trade.

The report also showed that developing countries gained greater access to technologies, markets for their exports, some essential medicines and greater debt relief.

The UN chief noted that tariffs on exports from developing countries were down while volume was up and some products from the least developed countries were admitted duty free.

He said while global economic trends were slowly improving, the crisis continued to take a toll.

For the first time in a long while, official development assistance (ODA) fall for two consecutive years.

He noted that ODA declined by four per cent in 2012, down to US$125.9 billion from US$134 billion in 2011, mainly due to fiscal austerity measures by countries in the European Union.

The secretary-general urged donor countries to continue to strive for, or surpass, the ODA target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income, particularly to the least developed countries (LDC).

Ban reminded reporters that he established the Task Force in 2007 to track progress on the international community’s delivery of commitments to strengthen the Global Partnership for Development.

“Today I am pleased to report progress on MDG 8, the global partnership for development. As the reports shows, tariffs on exports from developing countries are down. Exports from developing to developed countries are up.

“A larger proportion of exports from least developed countries are being admitted tax free. Access to mobile phone technology and the internet continue to rapidly expand,” he noted.

The UN chief added that some medicines such as those to treat HIV/AIDS were becoming more affordable and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ Initiative was near completion.

Also speaking, Mr. Olav Kjorven, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Bureau for Development Policy at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said: “What we saw last year is actually a little bit of a trend that the global partnership, the agreement, the contract,
between the north and the south when it comes to the willingness and commitment of the North to support his historic effort, we see signs of eroding or become weaker.”

Mr. Kjorven also co-chairs the Task Force along with UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

He said: “The most important message for me coming out of this report is let’s turn this around. Let’s stop this erosion, let’s stop this backsliding when it comes to aid commitments… and show that we’re serious about this global partnership for the last two years until the milestone of 2015.”

The Task Force Report was issued ahead of the annual high-level UN General Assembly meetings next week where discussions on the MDGs are to top the agenda.

In August, Ban outlined his vision for “bold” action to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 deadline and a post-2015 sustainable development agenda in the report, “A Life of Dignity for All.”

The UN chief has said he would officially launch the report on 25 September in New York.

According to the report, several important targets have been met and are likely to be met by the target year of 2015 as a result of collective efforts by the international community, governments, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders.

However, it called for bolder action in areas such as pollution, child and maternal health, HIV prevention and basic education.

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