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UN Plays Indispensable Role in Promoting World Efforts to Reach MDGs Targets: Top Official
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2010-9-17-
Title: UN Plays Indispensable Role in Promoting World Efforts to Reach MDGs Targets: Top Official
Source: Xinhua
Release Date: September 15, 2010
Keyword: Sha Zukang, UN, MDGs

A senior UN official has spoken highly of the role the United Nations has played in promoting world efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), saying that the world body will continue to do so.

"The United Nations has played and will continue to play an important, even an indispensable role in promoting the efforts by all its member states to translate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) into a reality," a senior UN official told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Sha Zukang, the UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, said, "There would be no MDGs without the United Nations, and there would be no current progress in reaching the MDGs targets without the promoting efforts by the world body."

MDGs are a series of targets, endorsed by world leaders in September 2000, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.

"MDGs represent the progress in human civilizations and a milestone in international cooperations," Sha said. "The realization of MDGs will greatly promote peace, security, justice and human rights in the world at large," he said.

Sha is a veteran Chinese diplomat who currently heads the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. He was previously the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Over his some 40 years of diplomatic career, his portfolios cover a wide range of fields, including security, disarmament, economy, social affairs, trade, human rights and humanitarian affairs.


"First, MDGs were put forward by the United Nations, which is the world's most authoritative and universal inter-governmental organizations," he said. "The United Nations also represents the core of global multilateral diplomacy. Therefore, there is no other mechanism that is more suitable than the United Nations for promoting the efforts of all member states in reaching the MDGs targets."

"Second, MDGs will not be reached without the United Nations," Sha said.

Over the past decade, the United Nations has put forward numerous proposals on the MDGs-oriented policies on the basis of its periodic monitoring of the efforts by its member states to reach the MDGs targets, he noted.

At the same time, All 192 member states, within the framework of the United Nations, met on a regular basis to review relevant proposals, exchange experience, hammer out agreement on international cooperation for MDGs corresponding responses and adopt relevant resolutions, thus registering promoting more progresses in the world efforts to reach the MDGs targets, he said.

Robust growth in the first half of the decade helped reduced the number of people in developing regions living on less than 1. 25 U.S. dollars a day from 1.8 billion in 1990 to 1.4 billion in 2005, while the poverty rate dropped from 46 percent to 27 percent, according to a UN progress report released in late June.

The sharpest reduction in poverty worldwide continues to be recorded in Eastern and Southeastern Asia, where MDGs target of halving extreme poverty has already been met, while most of Southern Asia is in danger of missing the targets, said the UN progress report.


The United Nations will convene a special MDG summit along with the opening of the UN General Assembly late this month in order to mobilize support for scaling up MDGs successes and to pay attention to gaps that need urgent action such as the protection of women and children.

Five years from the target dates for MDGs, leaders from around the world are expected to gather at the UN Headquarters in New York to undertake a course for accelerated action on the MDGs between now and 2015, thus making the upcoming summit more significant, he said.

More than 150 heads of state or government will gather at the UN Headquarters, making the event rarely seen in the history of the world body and demonstrating a strong testimony to member states' renewed commitment to achieving MDGs by its deadline, he said.

"As the under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, I, like everybody else here, really hopes that the upcoming summit will be a success," he said, voicing his confidence that the summit will not turn out to be just a talk show.

However, to make the summit successful, political will is still what counts, he said.

"Frankly, both developing countries and developed nations met with all kinds of difficulties due to the multiple various international crises," he said of the global financial and economic crises that have hindered the efforts by almost all many countries in reaching the MDGs targets.

The global economic and financial crisis, which began in the advanced economies of North America and Europe in 2008, sparked abrupt declines in exports and commodity prices and reduced trade and investment, slowing growth in developing countries. The number of jobless people also increased a lot in developed countries.

"But what should be also noted today is that the international community has all necessary resources, technology, knowledge and capability available for reaching MDGs through international cooperations," he said.

"What is the most needed now by the international community is the political will."

For example, if more mosquito nets and medicines are sent to Africa, there will be much fewer cases of malaria and much fewer deaths as a result of this kind of disease, he said. "Mosquito nets and medicines are not expensive to come by."

Furthermore, unmet commitments, inadequate resources, lack of focus and accountability, and insufficient dedication to sustainable development have created shortfalls in many areas, he said. "We can say that the international community does not lack commitments today, but lack the great efforts to meet the commitments."

Meanwhile, Sha called for strengthened assistance to the developing countries in order to help the poor countries with necessary resources for basic medicines and technology to deal with climate change.

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