Job creation will be vital in efforts to reach the ambitious Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of targets to slash a host of social ills, such as extreme poverty, by 2015, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today.
Increasing employment is the “critical link” between economic growth and poverty reduction, she told a meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Higher economic growth, while important, must not be viewed as an end in itself,” Ms. Migiro said. “For instance, last year’s robust worldwide expansion did not lead to a corresponding reduction in unemployment or poverty. Instead, the number of people living on less than $2 a day actually grew last year to reach 1.37 billion.”
Ms. Migiro also noted that unemployment disproportionately affects youth, with that age group representing a quarter of the global working population but nearly half of the unemployed.
“Globalization has lifted standards of living for some, but it has left many more on the margins, unable to enjoy its benefits,” she said.
“Addressing these disparities is a central tenet of the Millennium Development Goals,” the Deputy Secretary-General added, pointing out that as the target date of 2015 approaches, “the world as a whole still lags in the race to achieve all of these Goals.”
ECOSOC, comprised of 54 members elected by the General Assembly, is a body which meets yearly to further economic and social cooperation and development. Its mandate was enhanced in 2005 during the UN World Summit to improve the effectiveness of aid and monitor the implementation of targets, such as the MDGs, agreed upon by Member States.
Today’s ECOSOC meeting was a preparatory one for an annual ministerial review, set to take place later this year, which will assess the progress, or lack thereof, that the body has made in reaching objectives such as the MDGs.
Ms. Migiro called on the body to remember the ties between agriculture, hunger and poverty, as three out of every four of the world’s poor reside in rural communities.
“If we all join hands, we can still meet the 2015 MDG deadline, we can advance against poverty and hunger, and we can build a true partnership for development.”