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Real Change For World's Poor Needs Greater Efforts

Real change for world's poor requires greater efforts by all, Migiro says

27 March 2008 - With the global scorecard for reaching the bold pledges world leaders made to halve poverty and other social ills by 2015 showing mixed progress among countries, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today called for accelerated action to achieve real change for the world's poor.

"Today, the world must refocus its attention, and its resources, on the places and people that are being left behind," she said in a keynote address to Columbia University's State of the Planet Conference.

In doing so, she stressed the need to view people living in poverty as agents of change. This requires encouraging national ownership of development strategies, citizens actively participating in policy-making, and governments becoming more accountable in their efforts to achieve development targets, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Above all, it requires a true partnership for development where rich countries do their part in delivering resources and productive employment opportunities through market access," Ms. Migiro said. "Tremendous gains are possible if the international community translates its commitments into results."

She noted that the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day has fallen, and experts predict that the MDG target of halving extreme poverty may be met. "But this welcome progress is uneven with Africa lagging far behind in many of our grand promises," she added.

At the same time, the systems, knowledge and tools needed to reach the MDGs, and thereby save millions of lives and empower African countries to achieve sustained growth, are in place.

"To finance these programmes, African countries need to mobilize domestic resources, and developed countries must provide the support they promised on an adequate, sustained and predictable basis.

"The facts on the ground in many poor countries are clear: with carefully designed programmes and sound policies, backed up by strong government leadership and support from the international community, real change can happen," she stated.


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