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Accord Reached On Draft Declaration For MDG Summit

“World powers have reached an accord, after weeks of tough talks, on a document to be adopted at a Millennium Development summit this month for which [U.N.] Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is seeking billions of dollars of new funding,” Agence France-Presse reports in an article that describes how representatives from donor and developing nations debated how best to “pay for a kick start to the ambitious development goals first set at the Millennium summit in 2000” (Donnet, 9/9).

“The 27-page draft declaration on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] is expected to be formally adopted at a September 20-22 summit meeting at the United Nations which U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are expected to attend,” Reuters reports.

“The Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, including in the poorest countries, with renewed commitment, effective implementation, and intensified collective action by all (U.N.) member states and other relevant stakeholders,” the draft said, according to Reuters. The draft also referenced the impact of the global economic crisis on the ability for countries to reach the MDG targets by 2015, as planned when the development goals were created in 2000.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact of the financial and economic crisis — the worst since the Great Depression,” the draft said. “It has reversed development gains in many developing countries and threatened to seriously undermine the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.” The article includes criticisms of the draft by an Oxfam spokesman who said the report lacked “recommendations for specific actions or policy changes aimed at achieving the MDGs,” Reuters writes (Charbonneau, 9/10).

According to AFP, Ban is expected to formally announce funding commitments to help bolster progress towards MDGs during the summit.

“‘The secretary general is hoping to be able to announce 26 billion dollars in commitments’ to meet the funding gap for MDGs aimed at women’s and children’s health, AIDS and hunger, for just 2011, said Lyndon Haviland, an expert in strategic philanthropy and public health communications, who advises top UN officials,” the news service writes. Haviland, “also said that the United States would probably not be the biggest donor” (9/9).

Foreign Policy’s “Passport” blog, meanwhile, references several “sticking points” representatives from donor and developing countries had to resolve before releasing the final draft document, including “language about foreign occupation and blame where [MDG] progress has lagged behind.” The blog details the debate between the “so-called G77 group of developing countries” and the U.S. over language about “foreign occupation.”

The “point of blame — is it the donor-countries who have failed to give enough, or the poor countries who haven’t done enough with the money? — seems to have been settled; the draft declares that ‘commitments [to poverty reduction] by developed and developing countries in relation to the MDGs require mutual accountability,'” the blog writes (Dickinson, 9/9).

U.N. Forum Meets To Discuss Gender Equality, MDGs

Ahead of the U.N. MDG Summit, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro on Thursday called on attendees participating in a three-day U.N. forum on gender equality “to act quickly to tackle the inequalities that are at the root of today’s development challenges,” U.N. News Centre reports.

“There is general agreement that both global and national plans to achieve the MDGs by 2015 must integrate policies on gender equality and the empowerment of women,” Migiro told the forum which began Thursday. “The link is clear.”

Migiro continued, “Health policies must recognize that maternal mortality is still the leading cause of death of women of child-bearing age across the developing world. You are probably aware that this is the MDG that is lagging furthest behind. … We know how to prevent maternal and child deaths: with prenatal check-ups, qualified birth attendants and emergency care” (9/9).

Global Fund Head Meets With Indian Officials To Discuss Funding Commitments

The Hindu reports on Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine’s trip to India this week to meet with top government officials “to solicit political support in the advocacy efforts to replenish the Global Fund” ahead of the U.N. MDG Summit Meeting. 

The newspaper writes, “India’s position is perceived to be critical at two levels — as a country with a significant disease burden, and also as one being looked up to for leadership in keeping the focus on health issues.” The article notes the conference on the replenishment of the Global Fund is scheduled for October and details Kazatchkine’s recent efforts to reach out to emerging economies, such as Brazil and China, to commit funds.

“It is the right time as the world moves politically from G8 to G20 [in terms of global governance] that the emerging economies also participate in a global solidarity effort,” Kazatchkine said. “I’m not asking for India to go from net beneficiary to net donor. Only that, while it remains a strong beneficiary, it also contributes to show its political willingness to that collective effort.”

“As a beneficiary, India has received up to $1.1 billion from the Global Fund, the amount being split for the three key sectors — AIDS ($800 million), TB ($200 million) and malaria ($100 million),” according to The Hindu (Kannan, 9/10).

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