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HALVING POVERTY BY 2015?!

15 June 2005

We are already in mid-2005. Yet Secretary General Kofi Annan has no hesitation to announce, "The draft produced by the President of the General Assembly is an important step towards decisive action for halving poverty by 2015, reducing the threat of war, terrorism and proliferation and promoting human dignity in every corner of the world."

That's it. In one full swoop. But only, of course, if that "draft" is applied and the "best efforts" of the Secretary General are utilized in reaching that goal. If no tangible progress was achieved, however, it is mainly the fault of everyone else, especially member states. "World leaders will need to move forward on all fronts to ensure an outcome" said a statement issued on 3 June.

Let's take only one of that list of unachievable targets. Does anyone really believe that poverty could be cut in half by 2015? That date was put in the Millennium Goals of the Year 2000 Summit. On what was such a forecast based, no one bothered to explain. Now ONE THIRD of that period has elapsed and no accountable presentation has been made on WHAT DID THE U.N. DEVELOPMENT machinery do to practically advance these targets. While always placing blame on member states or development groups, HOW DID THE U.N. SECRETARIAT PRACTICALLY ADVANCE these objectives? Did all those negative reports on persistent scandals in the top echelon contribute to combating poverty? Other than rehashed statements or courtesy remarks towards an outgoing General Assembly President, how did we reach out to the General Public? Other than going from one meeting to another, to what extent have real people, the ill, the starving, and the marginalized been involved in the U.N. operational programme? With the exception of UNICEF and the World Food Program, how many can show results on the ground? We'll be greatly pleased to know of any advance which should be promoted in every way possible. But to claim in 2005 that a draft by the outgoing Monsieur Ping will produce that magic cure for such illusive goals is quite bluntly embarrassing hot air. And that presumptive approach is why we are having this credibility problem.