This week, world leaders gathered in New York City for an international summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs, eight poverty-fighting goals agreed to by more than 180 nations would, if achieved by their 2015 deadline, cut deadly global poverty, disease, and hunger in half and provide economic opportunity for millions in the world's poorest countries. President Obama addressed the group on Wednesday and announced a new landmark global-development policy for the United States. More on that in a moment....
But first, how is the world doing with just five years left until the completion point of the MDGs? While it's clear that real and transformative progress has been made in some goal areas and in some nations and regions of the world, it's also clear that in other areas, the world lags far behind. As stated in this year's UN report on progress toward the Goals, "unmet commitments, inadequate resources, lack of focus and accountability, and insufficient dedication to sustainable development have created shortfalls in many areas. Some of these shortfalls were aggravated by the global food and economic and financial crises." Bridging the remaining gaps in progress and commitment toward the Goals was the major focus of this week's UN Meeting.
So how is the United States doing in providing leadership toward meeting the Goals? President Obama's announcement earlier this summer of America's first-ever national strategy for meeting the MDGs was an important step in the right direction, complemented by his announcement at the UN this week of the nation's first-ever global-development strategy. Borne of the view that "embracing the MDGs is not just a moral imperative, but is also critical to protecting national interests," the President's new policy, among other things, establishes an inter-agency policy committee to ensure coordination and cohesion in America's foreign-aid programs. It's the first step toward a smarter global-development policy for our nation.
On the other hand, real concerns remain about whether the U.S. is doing enough to fund its commitments to the MDGs, particularly in the area of global HIV and AIDS. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu outlined in a July op-ed in the New York Times, funding for the fight against HIV/AIDS, has lagged substantially during the Obama Administration.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Click here to send a message to President Obama thanking him for his cohesive new global-development strategy and reiteration of America's commitment to the MDGs, but urging renewed commitment to funding the Goals, particularly in working toward a world free of HIV and AIDS.