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Annan urges concrete steps to reach global poverty reduction goals

Annan urges concrete steps to reach global poverty reduction goals

Attaining global goals for cutting poverty will require pro-active measures aimed at helping the poor and generating economic growth, according to a new report by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Released at UN Headquarters in New York today, the report assesses progress towards achieving goals set by national leaders attending the 2000 Millennium Summit. In the area of poverty reduction, the Summit's Declaration called for halving, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world's people whose income is less than $1 per day.

"Attaining the poverty reduction and other millennium development goals within the set time frame will not be easy," cautions Mr. Annan. "For many countries, it will be necessary to take concrete steps to ensure that faster and more pro-poor economic growth is achieved between now and 2015 if they are to have a real chance of meeting the 2015 target."

Using statistics compiled by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the report projects that if economic growth continues at its current pace, "70 countries are estimated to be far behind or slipping in terms of their ability to halve the poverty rate by 2015." Under that same scenario, 11 countries - including India and China, home to some 40 per cent of the world's population - are on track to meet the poverty reduction goal.

If States achieve more broad-based growth in the years to come, the projections suggest that 29 countries would reach the goal by 2015, with the number of those falling far behind dropping to 50.

The report contains a series of recommendations to reach the Millennium Summit goal, many directed at governments. Among those, it suggests that States incorporate poverty reduction targets into their national development plans and implement policies that will "accelerate pro-poor economic growth and social development." In addition, developed countries are urged to improve market access for developing States.