Quick progress on Millennium Development Goals ‘obviously possible’ – Migiro
Although many countries remain off track in meeting the ambitious Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that seek to slash hunger poverty and a host of other social ills by 2015, quick and significant progress is obviously possible, according to Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.
“Many countries are proving this,” Ms. Migiro told a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, citing increased public school enrolment, reduced child mortality thanks to massive vaccination campaigns, with 3 million more children surviving annually compared with the year 2000.
“And we know the ingredients for success. Strong government leadership. Good policies that support private investment. And sound strategies for scaling up public investments. “The international community must back these favourable conditions with financial and technical assistance,” she said.
“Our ambitious vision for a better world is still within reach, but we need all States to follow through on their commitments. Developing countries, yes, but especially those which are already more developed,” she added, calling for immediate rigorous and concerted national and international action to push back the frontiers of poverty, especially in light of skyrocketing food prices.
Ms. Migiro noted that parliaments are key to achieving the MDGs, by showing political will in legislation and budget allocations. In developed countries in the North, parliaments should contribute to government efforts to honour their commitment to allocate 0.7 per cent of gross national income to official development assistance whose latest figures are in steep decrease.
In the developing countries of the South, parliaments should not only be preoccupied by domestic issues but relate to what is taking place at the regional as well as the global level, she said.
“They must press to ensure that their governments mobilize resources, set strategies and adopt policies geared toward reaching the MDGs. And they should participate in formulating poverty reduction strategies and monitoring efforts to carry them out,” she added, stressing the importance of accountability, good governance and human rights.
Turning to climate change, Ms. Migiro noted that negotiations in Bangkok earlier this month agreed on a work programme to move forward towards crafting a new international climate change agreement.
“Now is when the real work begins, and given the magnitude of the challenge ahead, actors from across the spectrum – not just government negotiators – need to be involved,” she said.
“Governments at the national and local level need to work closely with intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, the media, civil society and individuals from around the world. As we seek to galvanize public opinion, Parliaments are uniquely poised to assist in this global alliance for action,” she added.