Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has warned countries that the current financial crisis, which is impacting all economies and exacerbating the suffering of millions, is also threatening the efforts to slash poverty, hunger, disease and other socio-economic ills by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“The financial crisis only exacerbates the hardship already being caused by higher prices of food and energy, especially in low-income countries, fomenting social and political unease,” Ms. Migiro told the General Assembly’s Second Committee, which deals with economic and financial matters.
“Despite the recent announcement by the World Bank that considerable progress has been made in reducing poverty and hunger, our work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals is clearly at risk,” she cautioned.
Ms. Migiro told delegates that they were meeting at a time of financial turmoil, and that urgent action was needed to avert a recession, including through stimulus packages and measures to stabilize financial and foreign exchange markets.
In the midst of the current financial woes, “achieving the MDGs by 2015 continues to be our major development challenge,” the Deputy Secretary-General stated. Although the progress made so far towards the Goals has been uneven, it is still possible to achieve them by the target date, she added.
Noting that Africa remains the region with the greatest challenges ahead, particularly against the backdrop of much higher food and energy prices and climate change, she called for increasing and better coordinating aid, reducing agricultural subsidies in developed countries, and investing more in infrastructure.
“Let’s make sure the financial crisis does not divert our efforts,” she appealed to Member States. “If we are to take away any lesson from the multiple crises we face, it is that delaying action only makes matters worse.”