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Upcoming G-8 summit should tackle anti-poverty

Upcoming G-8 summit should tackle, not debate, anti-poverty goals – UN official

The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today he hoped the leaders of the eight most industrialized countries meeting next week in Evian, France, would be discussing not whether to address the anti-poverty goals of the 2000 Millennium Summit and development, but how they could resolve them.

“There is a big world out there and a lot more is going on beyond the important issues of Iraq and terrorism. There’s a much broader, other security agenda out there, related to global poverty,” UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown told a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.

“We, with the cooperation of the French hosts at Evian, have prepared an extremely subversive document which will be on the seat of every G-8 leader when they sit down at Evian, which is a benchmarking of where we are towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted here in the year 2000, by 2015,” he added.

The G-8, comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, is set to meet in Evian from 1 to 3 June.

The MDGs seek to combat such issues as poverty, hunger, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women within a set time frame. “What we are seeking with this document is to remind the international community that something very important has been begun since the Millennium Assembly of 2000 and that must not be derailed by current events,” Mr. Malloch Brown added.

He said momentum could not be taken for granted after the Millennium Summit and subsequent meetings in Monterrey, Mexico, and Johannesburg, South Africa, which reflected a consensus about working together – North and South – to attack these global problems.

“Of course, in recent months, press commentary has inevitably and understandably shifted from this agenda to one very much around Iraq, and the word on everybody’s lips in terms of characterizing this new world we’re operating in is focussed very much on unilateralism,” Mr. Malloch Brown declared. “But many of us would argue that shouldn’t overshadow at least as important a trait of the current international political economy – and that is interdependence.”

Recent developments, he said, had underscored this interdependence, such as migrations from the South, with immigration issues impacting on elections in Europe, and infectious diseases like the newly emergent and deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which respect no borders.

“And so, we have seen a growing global constituency focussed on both the concept that your security is my security in the global sense, your welfare is my welfare, that global poverty in one part of the world is a threat to peoples in other parts of the world, a physical security threat, a health threat, an economic threat in terms of lost world growth,” he said.

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