Global cooperation crucial to achieving development targets, nations tell UN

29 September 2009
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight ambitious anti-poverty targets agreed on by world leaders, by their 2015 deadline will require concert global cooperation, nations have told the General Assembly’s high-level annual debate.

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight ambitious anti-poverty targets agreed on by world leaders, by their 2015 deadline will require concert global cooperation, nations have told the General Assembly’s high-level annual debate.

Norway pointed out that the financial crisis has pushed millions into poverty. “Loss of income is placing public policies at perilous risk, potentially undermining services on which the poorest and weakest depend the most, such as health and education,” Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said today.

The lack of progress in improving maternal health, he said, is “the most disgraceful underachievement” to date.

Women urgently need continued services in clinics to ensure they deliver their children safely, with preparations made to transfer them to hospitals in the event of complications, Mr. Støre said on the last day of the high-level segment.

“Strengthening health services is key for reducing mother and child mortality, and is also a vital element in realizing the rights of women and children,” he added.

The international community, said Denmark’s ambassador to the United Nations, must assist the world’s poorest in mitigating the effects of the global recession as well as to achieve development aims.

“There is an imminent risk that the economic crisis will lead to a stagnation or a reduction of official development assistance [ODA],” Carsten Staur said. “This is a challenge we must counter and overcome, and it is more crucial than ever that all donors speed up delivery on their aid commitments.”

Portugal underscored the need for “collective responsibility and international cohesion” to reach the MDGs.

“A State that forgets the common good, sooner or later, will have instability, poverty and insecurity knocking at its door,” João Gomes Cravinho, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, warned at the Assembly yesterday.

For its part, the European nation will continue to concentrate a large percentage of its foreign aid on Africa, he said.

Cooperation is essential at all levels – national, regional and international – to meet the MDGs, Foreign Minister Oldemiro Marques Balói of Mozambique told the Assembly, underscoring the key role played by the UN in coordinating international responses to current challenges.

“Mozambique strongly believes in multilateralism, and that the United Nations is at the centre of it,” he said.

“We also believe that the United Nations is a privileged forum that congregates the universal aspirations for a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous world, where the values of tolerance, respect of human rights and international cooperation for development are upheld.”

For its part, San Marino also called for the world body to be at the forefront of efforts to “promote the affirmation of democracy, rule of law, freedoms and human rights as a condition for economic and social development, cultural growth and education.”

Foreign Minister Antonella Mularoni acknowledged that achieving the MDGs have been made more difficult in the face of the economic downturn, but emphasized that “we must continue in our commitment.”

A senior Mauritanian official warned that the financial is preventing development gain from taking hold, especially in the least developed countries.

Foreign Minister Naha Mint Mouknass cautioned yesterday that these nations will face massive obstacles, appealing to the international community to take immediate action to avert disaster.

 

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