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Aggressive push needed for fulfilling Millennium Goals: UN

Dharam Shourie in United Nations | September 12, 2008 13:48 IST

Rising prices and global economic slowdown are threatening Millennium Goals, necessitating an 'aggressive push' to achieve the anti-poverty targets by 2015, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban noted that despite the challenges, there are enough successes to prove that most of the goals are reachable in all countries.

"In most cases, we already know what needs to be done and how. Now we need an aggressive push to get the world on track," he stressed at the launch of the UN's Millennium Development Goals Report 2008.

The report is a comprehensive global assessment towards the targets, ranging from eradicating extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, to reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

"It provides hard evidence on what we have done well, and what more needs to be done if we are to reach our goals by 2015," Ban said.

Developing countries are devoting more resources to education and health thanks to reduced external debt servicing, fresh assistance and new financing from private foundations, Ban said.

In addition, primary school enrolment is rising, and there has been progress on health and gender equality, he said.

According to new data from the World Bank, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty is expected to decline by half by 2015.

"But progress is largely concentrated in Asia," said the secretary-general, adding that until recently, sub-Saharan Africa was losing ground in the fight against extreme poverty.

The report states that current high food prices are expected to push many people into poverty, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which are already the regions with the largest numbers of people living in extreme poverty.

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