UN Looks for New Ways to Tackle Poverty

By Ekaterina Volozova

BEIJING—(September 24—M4Relay) — Since 2000, the Millennium Development Goals have been on the agenda for the UN, and are scheduled to be attained by 2015. The question is- how this should be achieved?

US President Barack Obama spoke at the recent UN summit, saying that “We need more than just aid to unleash that change,” he continues, “We need to harness all the tools at our disposal — from our diplomacy to our trade and investment policies.” The ideas the US President brought forth, were also talked about by several leaders of Western countries. British Deputy Prime Minister in a Reuters report said that “developing nations must understand that they will not just receive a blank check.”

So generally, the main idea is to propose a concrete plan of action, instead of just monitoring the amount of money spent in the area and assuming that the amount of money spent on the program will guarantee a result.

To Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger is the first millennium goal discussed among all of them, and is, therefore, the most important. According to UN statistics, there are about 1.4 billion people in the world living under the international poverty line. The goal is to halve that amount by 2015.

To achieve this goal, two things will be necessary: money and ideas. According to UN officials $27 billion was donated, some $8.6 billion of that was donated by low income countries. The money has been contributed; the question is how to use that money so that those that are in need of it can benefit from it. The big concern is how to guarantee development in those areas, and how to create conditions so that assistance is no longer needed in that area. This means helping countries develop their agricultural sectors, improve crop yields, etc., in order to reach the 2015 goal, and finding an answer to these questions is crucial.

Joanna Kerr, head of Action Aid, an international anti-poverty agency, said that the Obama’s proposals were just a show and had no specific steps on how to implement the ideas. “An avalanche of warm sentiment cleverly concealed the fact that no fully funded plans of action for tackling poverty were actually announced,” Kerr said in a Reuters report. The Action Aid organization usually has a five year plan for the implementation of ideas for poverty reduction.

Despite different opinions on how the program will be implemented and what each country should do, the eradication of poverty remains at the top of the Millennium Development Goals. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, told the summit’s closing session it was essential that the Millennium Development Goal promises were kept. “The consequences of doing otherwise are profound — death, illness and despair,” he said, according to Reuters.

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