Despite the global economic downturn, the world continues to make advances towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but countries must step up their efforts in achieving the targets to reduce poverty by 2015, a new UN report says.
The annual assessment report, a copy which was made available to the Pan African News Agency (PANA) on Thursday, stated that the world had made huge strides in reducing extreme poverty, as well as tackling HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
It also said that some countries had made progress in boosting access to clean drinking water, “but is still lagging in other critical areas, such as improving maternal health and increasing access to decent sanitation”.
The report said that world leaders must focus on several fronts, including generating jobs, spurring economic growth, encouraging food security, promoting clean energy and strengthening partnerships between rich and poor countries to help the world’s most vulnerable.
“Economic uncertainty cannot be an excuse to slow down our development efforts,” it said.
“It is a reason to speed them up. By investing in the MDGs, we invest in global economic growth. By focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable, we lay the foundation for a more sustainable and prosperous tomorrow,” it noted.
The MDG assessment report, based on data from more than 25 UN agencies and international organisations, indicated that the world had slashed the percentage of people living in extreme poverty “classed as earning less than US$ 1.25 a day” in the past two decades.
The report has been released ahead of the G-8 and G-20 summits for leading economies, being held this weekend in Toronto, Canada.
PANA learnt that economic accountability for aid commitments will be high on the summit’s agenda.