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New UN working group to assist Africa in reaching development goals

New UN working group to assist Africa in reaching development goals

With many countries in Africa lagging in the achievement of development goals and assistance to them stagnating, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the launch of a new working group to reinvigorate the partnership between donors and sub-Saharan governments.

“There is now a danger that the commitment you made at the Summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to double aid to Africa by 2010 will not be met,” Mr. Ban said in a letter to the Heads of State and Government of the Group of Eight industrialized countries (G-8), who will be gathering in Germany next month.

In the letter, he called on the G-8 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States – for leadership in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and tackling climate change.

To achieve the MDGs, internationally agreed targets to slash extreme poverty and other ills around the world by 2015, Mr. Ban asked the countries to both reverse the drop in Official Development Assistance (ODA) and also successfully conclude the Doha trade talks on equitable trade.

“You have a vital role to play in the further development of an open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system,” he wrote.

On climate change, he emphasized that the reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on the issue earlier this year dispel any doubt that the world does not know enough to act to prevent the consequences, which may be dire.

“The cost of inaction will exceed the cost of taking early action, probably by several orders of magnitude, as the impact of climate change has the potential to undo progress made on human development,” he said.

In that light, he stressed the necessity of special effort to put in place a long-term global framework to tackle climate change, in a way that addresses the needs of all countries.

“I urge you to take the lead in your country, and support developing countries to achieve economic growth while contributing to lasting solutions to climate change,” he said, addressing each of the G-8 leaders.