UN, Google, Cisco Unveil Tool To Battle Poverty
UN, Google and Cisco unveil online tool in battle against global poverty
The United Nations has teamed up with technology leaders Google and Cisco to launch a new online site to track global progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - the set of ambitious targets the world has set itself for slashing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and other social ills by 2015.
MDG Monitor is a web application that tracks real-time progress toward the Goals in a number of categories in nearly every country in the world.
In addition to featuring information on the MDGs, the new online resource will serve as an educational and advocacy platform with the most current data in areas such as public health, education and women's empowerment.
Launching the project today at UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the MDG Monitor the "newest beacon in the fight against extreme poverty and inequality."
"Now, for the first time, all information on the MDGs is available in one place, for all who seek it, with a few simple clicks of the mouse," he stated. "The MDG Monitor will not only help measure progress towards the Goals, it will also identify gaps and pinpoint areas where additional efforts are required."
The Secretary-General noted that while the world is facing a "development emergency," it also has at its disposal the means to cut poverty in half in the span of a generation. But ultimately, achieving the MDGs is a matter of political will.
"There is no silver bullet, but the resources, knowledge and tools for achieving the Goals do exist," he stressed. "Having the tools to closely monitor data on the MDGs is one of the most important requirements for this endeavour to succeed."
Kemal Dervis, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said accurate data is vital to the campaign to achieve the MDGs.
The MDG Monitor fills an important gap, since information on progress toward the Goals was not, until now, readily and easily available in one place, he noted.
Highlighting the role played by Google and Cisco in this process, he said "we really need all hands on deck as we redouble our efforts, and partners like you are essential."
Among its features, MDG Monitor allows web surfers to use Google Earth to go anywhere on the planet and explore the places where work is being done to realize the MDGs, with access to country assessments and data collected by the UN worldwide.
The online tool enables more than 300 million Google Earth users to better understand the Goals and what it will take to achieve them through the MDG Monitor website (www.mdgmonitor.org).
"Google's collaboration with the UNDP represents a belief that the MDGs stand for basic and critical human progress," stated Michael T. Jones, Chief Technologist for Google Earth and Maps.
"We have multiple legs on our stool and that is one of the pillars that we take pride in," said Cisco Senior Vice President Carlos Dominguez.
Noting that the MDGs are "lofty goals and ones that are not easily attainable, and really requires a whole community and a global effort to attain," he stressed the crucial need for tools to monitor and analyze what works and which areas need additional support.
Agreed by world leaders from 189 countries in New York in 2000, the MDGs call for quantified, time-bound progress in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development.