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Still 'long way to go' in reaching Millennium goals, UN adviser says

Still 'long way to go' in reaching Millennium goals, UN adviser says

The international community still has a long way to go to towards reaching the targets set in the Millennium Declaration, which aim to tackle such global problems as poverty and hunger, a senior United Nations official said today.

The remarks by Michael Doyle, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, came at a press briefing on the Secretary-General's recent report tracking the international community's record in implementing those targets, which were adopted at the 2000 Millennium Summit held at UN Headquarters in New York.

The analysis, the first of 13 annual reports to the UN General Assembly, noted that there had been successes in peacekeeping and peace building in East Timor, as well as progress in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, Mr. Doyle said. There had also been considerable progress within the UN system in the implementation of a report calling for peacekeeping reform as well as in capacity building.

As for the key Millennium Development Goal - reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day by 2015 - the international community was actually on target, but barely, Mr. Doyle said. The development was a result of the exceptional progress in East Asia compensating for the lack of improvement or even regression in other parts of the world.

Meanwhile, there has also been progress with the entry into force of the International Criminal Court, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the creation of the African Union; nevertheless, the fact that almost half of Africa's population was below the poverty line remained a challenge, Mr. Doyle said.

The Special Adviser also noted a "worrying" lag in the achievement of many of the Millennium Development Goals such as the "dreadful" situation of child and maternal mortality.

The target for child mortality was to reduce by two thirds its global rate, he said, but unfortunately, the current path of progress was only producing a rate of decline of one fourth. In the judgement of experts, the targets could be met only with rapidly increased and more concerted investment of effort and materials.