Annan praises Spain for donating $700 million to achieve global development goals
Outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today praised Spain for donating $700 million to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a time-bound set of eight globally agreed targets that aim to combat poverty and other social ills, calling this a “splendid example of international solidarity” and urging other countries to follow suit.
“I would just like… to acknowledge the magnificent announcement by the Spanish prime minister yesterday, that Spain is donating $700 million to the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015,” Mr. Annan said in his last press conference before handing over the reins of the world body to his successor, Ban Ki-moon, at the end of this month.
“This is the largest contribution yet made to the UN for this purpose by any country, and I believe it is a splendid example of international solidarity which I hope other members will follow,” said Mr. Annan, who attended a signing ceremony for the donation yesterday in New York, alongside Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
The agreement, signed between Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Leire Pajín and Kemal Dervis, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, sets up the UN Fund for the Achievement of the MDGs, which will be managed by Spain and the UNDP.
According to the agency, which coordinates UN development activities in developing countries, the MDG Fund will focus on the following:Democratic governance;
Basic social needs, including youth employment;
Economic development, including the role of the private sector;
Environment and climate change;
Conflict prevention and peace-building;
Cultural diversity and development.
“UNDP thanks the Government of Spain for this contribution which confirms its leadership in multilateralism and international cooperation and highlights its confidence in the United Nations,” Mr. Dervis said.
“Focussing on seven key development areas, widely acknowledged as central to the achievement of the MDGs, this contribution will better position the UN to help countries achieve their national development objectives.”
The MDGs were agreed by world leaders at the UN’s Millennium Summit in 2000. They cover eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and fostering a global partnership for development.