Financial crisis highlights need to achieve development goals, Migiro says

17 April 2009

The current financial turmoil that has swept the world provides an impetus to deliver on aid commitments and reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight internationally-agreed anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has said.

“One might say that aid is a luxury in a time of economic turmoil,” she said yesterday at the Montreal Millennium Summit. “But our reaction to the crisis shows just how wrong-headed such thinking would be.”

Ms. Migiro stressed in her address that the current crisis reveals that assistance is more crucial than ever, with aid as the only option left for many nations which have seen private financing disappear.

“If we fail to meet our aid commitments, we miss a chance to speed our own economic recovery,” she said. “Fiscal stimulus has the biggest impact when it is directed to poor people.”

With the midpoint to the MDG deadline having been reached, the Deputy Secretary-General said that even though many challenges remain, there is reason for hope, given the progress that has been made on many fronts, such as education, HIV/AIDS and gender equality.

She pointed out that Rwanda, which is still recovering from the devastating 1994 massacre of over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, is the country with the highest percentage of women in its parliament.

“We must never underestimate the human capacity for change,” Ms. Migiro emphasized.

But progress has been too slow in other areas, such as improving maternal health and protecting the environment, she said.

The Deputy Secretary-General said that many developing countries have made great strides, achieving robust growth and even financing their own development, and she urged them to stand by their promises of improving governance and economic systems.

For their part, “donors could do more,” she said. Even though “money can’t buy development,” she underscored that it is impossible to reach development targets with more resources.

While in Montreal, Ms. Migiro also addressed an event on the theme, “Forging a Renewed Partnership for Development,” and reiterated the need for global cooperation to meet the MDGs.

“The task of achieving the Goals is too great for any one of us to achieve alone,” she said. “We must succeed together.”

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