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The development of the Millennium Development Goals
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Almost simultaneously with the WTO forum on "Trading into the future", the United Nations discussed the progress made with the Millennium Goals.

The BBC's Newshour of 26 September gives a sobering account of the human development and the results of generalised growth in India.

The same day the disconcerting news spread that carbondioxide emissions have risen far more than expected in the worst case scenario.

Both issues can be contrasted to the optimistic and in part irrealistic expectations of Mr Pascal Lamy at his WTO forum.

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News from PBS USA (25 Sept 2008): "There were new developments today on global warming. Researchers in the US and other countries reported man-made emissions of carbon dioxide rose three per cent in 2007. That exceeds the worst case forecast made last year by an international group of scientists. And ten north-eastern states in the US began buying and selling carbon pollution credits to curb climate change. It was the nation's first such auction. China launched three astronauts into space today to carry out a space walk. That will mark a first for China which began manned space flight in 2003. The launch came under clear night skies in north-western China. The mission will last three to four days. The space walk will take place on Friday or Saturday. "( )
Nachricht auf Bayern: "Kohlendioxid-Ausstoß steigt schneller als befürchtet Canberra: Der Ausstoß des klimaschädlichen Kohlendioxids ist seit dem Jahr 2000 vier Mal schneller gestiegen als im Jahrzehnt davor. Laut der Studie eines australischen Forschungsinstituts lag die Zuwachsrate damit sogar höher als im schlimmsten Szenario des Weltklimarats. Gleichzeitig nimmt demzufolge auch noch die Aufnahmefähigkeit der Natur für Kohlenstoff ab. So wurden beispielsweise durch das Abholzen von Wäldern in tropischen Ländern 1,5 Milliarden Tonnen mehr CO2 in die Atmosphäre abgegeben als neu gepflanzte Bäume absorbieren konnten." ( )
BBC News 2008.09.25 Newshour - 20:32:30 (Claire Boulderson):
"Eight years ago the UN set itself an ambitious target for cutting world poverty dramatically by 2015. World leaders gathered to agree what is known as the Millennium Development Goals. ... 32:45 Today they are meeting again to discuss progress. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging them to do more to meet the goals. He said the global economic downturn meant money for anti-poverty programmes was needed even more than ever.
    "The current financial crisis threatens the well-being of millions of people. None more so than the poorest of the poor. This also compounds the damage done by the much higher prices for food and fuel. We must rise to all of these challenges immediately. We must inject new energy into the global partnership for development."
That was Ban Ki-Moon at the UN a few hours ago. He's urging action - by which we mean money of course - because eight years on the goals are not being met. But what specifically are they? Dr Michael Jennings teaches Development Studies at London School of Oriental and African Studies.
    "There are eight overall goals and these are then further subdivided into around twenty targets. And the goals themselves are fairly easy to understand. It's eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, promoting gender equity and equality, reducing child mortality, reducing maternal mortality, combatting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and others, trying to promote environmental sustainability, and lastly probably the most vague of all the goals is building up a development consensus or partnership for development."
And paid for by whom?
    "Well this is to be paid for by donors who agreed to increase their funds. But it's quite important to remember that, although these goals were framed around the millennium, they were agreed upon by the member states of the United Nations, a lot of them are coming together from pre-existing programmes. So for example the rolled-back malaria programme has become part of the millennium development goals although it existed earlier in the 1990ies. So these have received funding from various sources. But the real commitments and the real drive has been to increase overall oversea's development aid with a view to achieving these eight goals."
That was Dr. Michael Jennings. And more from him later because we are going to hear first from a country that's unlikely to meet half of the UN's millennium development goals by 2015.
India is home to a third of the world's poor and despite the country's recent economic progress, the number of poor is growing, not shrinking. Our South-Asia correspondent, Sanjoy Majund a, in Mumbai, reports on how the new-found wealth isn't trickling down.
    "I've just walked into the China House Lounge, the newest, hippest night club in Mumbai, and the city's rich sat around in cult form. The bar tender is mixing with cottage cocktails with an appreciative and young audience. The average age appears to be twenty. Everyone's dressed predominently in black and are certainly not put off by the price. Drinks here cost twenty dollars each.
    India is booming. And the rich are getting richer. ' It's nice. It's got ... a bit tight...' The French designer label Christian Dior is only one of several high-end brands to have opened a store in India. And even if a bag here costs several thousand dollars, there are plenty of takers.
    'And these boots? Are they coming? We both set off to travel every summer. And we love going out and we love clubbing and we go to the beaches. Because we each other we have access to buy these brands and it is great because then we all meet up and discuss what bags we have and wear them out here, to parties and things like that. '
    As India's economy grows, the landscape of Mumbai is changing. In the heart of the city construction workers pound away at a large million dollar apartment for the wealthy.
    One of them is Satwinder. He's a migrant worker from Bengal. Like more than half the residents of the city, he and his family live in a tiny one-room tenement, eight feet across, which doubles up as bedroom and kitchen. The only bathroom - a shed facility at the end of the block. We earn about six dollars a day. We use that to run our household. But we also send some money back home to our parents.
    "We have been growing at a very high rate compared to all other countries." Ajind Sindrapad, the author of the latest Indian Government Reoprt on Poverty. " ... growth, tremendous progress. has been limited to, essentially to a small fraction of the population. Only 23 percent of our population had a growth in their physic power and consumption power. "
    This growing inequality is leading to greater poverty. The benefits of India's economic boom are simply not trickling down to people like Satwinder the construction worker. 'We don't have any major dreams.We are poor people. We don't even have land of our own. Our only aspiration is to earn enough to feed ourselves to survive. That's all.'
    For all of India's impressive progress, the number of Indians living in extreme poverty is roughly equal to the current population of the United States. Unless India commits itself to greater social spending and intervention, it cannot hope to reduce poverty. And those living on the margins of its society will continue to be left behind."
Sanjory Majunda with the particular case of India.
Well, Africa is where a lot of donor money is supposed to be directed. But while there has been progress on tackling malaria there and providing primary education, not one country on the continent is on course to meet all millennium goals by 2015. Despite the promises made eight years ago and then again in 2005 at the G8 Gleneagles summit, where the rich industrialised nations promised to double aid to Africa. So how much progress has been made? Britain's International Development Secretary Dougles Alexander is at the summit in New York.
    "Well there has been different progress on different millennium goals. On the core millennium development goal of halving world poverty about 400 million people have been lifted out of poverty since they were originally agreed back in the year 2000. We have also seen very significant progress in terms of getting kids into school, Well over about 75 million children this morning without classroom or a teacher to teach them primary school. But in other areas for example of infant and maternal mortality we are seriously off-track. We have seen the opportunity of this high level summit being to refocus and regalvanise the world attention on the need to make progress on these millennium development goals between now and 2015."
There is clearly a lot of concern about the money not being forthcoming from richer countries. One of the meetings that have been held on one of the fringes of this summit , there was a call for the western countries, rich countries, to honour their pledge to double their annula aid to Africa. We are concerned that a statement that the current rate of commitment of doubling aid to Africa by 2010 as articulated in Gleneagles will not be reached. Who's not coughing up?
    "Well, I welcome the fact that the July G8 meeting that took place in Hakkaido reaffirmed that commitment of million dollars for Africa and 50 billion dollars globally by 2010. Speaking for the British Government I can confirm that we are on track in terms of the commitmments that we made back in 2005. It's surely for other governments to answer as to the time scale by which they will meet the commitments that they have made and that they reaffirmed only as recently as July.""
Yeah, it's going to get harder to get the money for exactly those projects, isn't it. In Britain perhaps and certainly in a lot of countries they are now facing lower growth, possibly even recession in some places, because of the economic crisis that we're seeing. Ther are not going to be forthcoming with the kind of money that is needed for developing nations.
    "Well surely, if you look back over the last year and think of what have we learned aidst the global international turbulance of the financial markets, the rise in food prices and the rise in fuel prices, Iw ould argue that one of the we have learned is the extent to which in a global age we are really in this together. Because it's impossible for any to credibly answer the challenge of by acting on its own without working in partnership with others. And the extent to which we genuinely having now shared interest and self-interest in having a more prosperous and peaceful more sustainable world becomes clearer by the year. So in that sense I would argue that we notwithstanding the real challenges that are faced in the global economy when we see new figures emerging last week in the case that there are 75 million more - not less - more people going to bed hungry tonight than was the case a year ago, now is not the time to relax but to recommit ourselves to the challenge of meeting them on our development goals."
Are developing countries doing their bit as well?. I'm thinking for example of India, which is a nation that has been getting richer more or less by the year and yet the poor in that country they stay poor. They don't have access to education, to clean water, the kind of things the millennium goals are trying to get.
    "Sure. I think first of all you need a sense of perspective. I mean the scale of peoverty in India remains vast, depsite the real economic progress that the countrsy is making. If you were to take all of the poor people in sub-Saharia Africa there would be less of them than people lving in poverty within India. That being said, the fact that we have got an Indian economy that's been growing significantly year on year for many years now, is in many ways the best hope that the economic prosperity being enjoyed by a burgeoning middle class spreads in to the more rural areas and reaches the whole of the Indian population. That's certainly what we would like to see."
British international dvelopment secretary Douglas Alexander. He wouldn't name names when it comes to who isn't paying up when it comes to promised aid. So I put that question to development expert Dr. Michael Jennings, who we heard froma little earlier.
    "Well. Overall, aid levels fell this year by around 8.4 percent. Now, this partly reflects the fact that there were huge rises in 2005 and 2006 which reflected both the commitments by governments and meeting those commitments in scaling up their aid. But also the massive amounts of debt relief that pertend to various debt relief programmes."
That was all after Gleneagles.
    "Absolutely. Now, those debt relief programmes have since scaled off. So the money has fallen. So overall aid has slightly increased but in real terms it's remaining static. I think it's slightly disingenuous to suggest that the UK is meeting its commitments when everyone else is failing. I think the UK is one of a group of countries who aren't quite scaling up their aid to the levels needed."
Is it going to get harder to get aid, now that there is basically a global economic downturn and an awful lot of uncertainty in the richer developed countries? Are they are nor going to want to give money to other nations, are they?
    "I do think it's certainly going to become difficult if only it's going to be very hard for governments to try and persuade their electorates that ginving high levels of aid is something that should be done. And there is an additional problem that the aid levels need to be scaled up to meet targets because progress isn't being made. But achieving those targets has become harder. There are over an estimated 100 million more people living in poverty just as a result of food price inflation and the increase in oil prices and the economic downturn. So the aid no longer has to just reach the target. It has to catch up friom the reversals that have been made over the past year."
So far from meeting the millennium development goals, what's actually happening is that it's sliding backwards then, from what you are suggesting.
    "Well, I think what would be interesting in this meeting is to see what comes out. I think it's clear that for many of the goals there is going to be great difficulty for meeting them. And whilst I think whatever is communicated, we'll certainly be whatever as committed as ever to the millennium deveopment goals. I think over the next few years we're likely to see some sliding back for priority to be given on particular goals, particular targets rather than others, and move away from an attempt to meet the MDGs as a whole."
And it'll be done because these countries (a) don't have the money or their elecorates think they have to going to be careful about that but also because these are very very difficult goals to meet.
    "Yes. They are certainly difficult goals and I think the ambition of the goals was to be applauded and I don't think anyone doubts that. But there is an additional problem that because the goals were agreed by international governments by international leaders, a fundamentally apolitical, they deal with social problems rather than underlying power balances, trade imbalances, the underlying causes of poverty. Now achieving the MDGs would be fantastic but I don't see how they can be achieved without addressing some of these more underlying structural goals. Because governments are unwilling to embrace the real challenges that whould enthouse themselves."
That was development expert Dr Michael Jennings. You're listeing to the BBC world Service. I'm Claire Boulderson with Newshour. [Transcript Helmut Lubbers 26.9.2008.]