12:00 AM, October 24, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 24, 2007

UN to review poverty reduction goals

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Afp, United Nations

The UN General Assembly is to host a meeting this week to lay the groundwork for a review of global poverty reduction pledges, made in Mexico five years ago, a UN statement said Monday.
The two-day meeting, set to open Tuesday, will bring together finance ministers, central bank governors and other senior officials as well as delegates from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
The review itself is to take place at talks in Doha late next year.
At the 2002 Monterrey conference in Mexico, developing countries pledged accountability and good governance in marshalling domestic resources for their development.
In exchange, the developing world promised increased aid, debt relief as well as a European Union timetable to reach a 0.7 percent official development assistance (ODA) target by 2015, with the aim of meeting the poverty-reduction Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
Since then, UN officials say poor countries have sought to enhance macroeconomic and fiscal management while boosting social spending but commitments for new resources from donors to achieve the MDGs have not been fully met.
"Millions of lives quite literally hang in the balance," said General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, who will open the session Tuesday.
"Achieving the MDGs and delivering on our promises is above all a test of our moral obligations," he noted. "We should not allow commitments to become words that symbolize broken promises."
UN chief Ban Ki-moon who is also to address the meeting said that "so far, progress on the Monterrey Consensus has been mixed.
"Since 2002, levels of official development assistance, including new commitments, have risen," he added.
"But the sustained increase required to meet the targets has not materialized. Without rapid progress, by 2015 there will be more people struggling in poverty."
Implementation of the so-called Monterrey consensus is to come under scrutiny at a Qatar review conference in 2008.

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