Campaign Seeks To Hold Governments Accountable To Meeting MDG Targets

Inter Press Service examines the Stand Up Take Action campaign, which took place October 16-18 to highlight the Millennium Development Goals’ [MDG] 2015 deadline. “With just six years left until the deadline by which heads of state have pledged to reduce extreme poverty by half, Salil Shetty, director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign, says that Stand Up is a stark reminder that citizens ‘do not accept excuses for governments breaking promises to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens,'” IPS writes.

“Agreed to in 2000, the [MDGs] include a 50 percent reduction in extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; promotion of gender equality; reduction of child mortality by two-thirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a North-South global partnership for development,” the publication writes. The article includes information about campaign events worldwide and discusses awareness about MDGs in the U.S. (Hoeksema, 10/18).

To mark the campaign in India, “a candle light vigil” was held “to symbolize the dispersal of the darkness of poverty and illiteracy,” IANS/Thaindian News reports. “The National Federation of Indian Women will also submit memorandums to district officials … to demand equal wages and jobs under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), better health facilities under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and a check on child mortality and maternal deaths,” the publication writes. Public stalls were also set up in various locations asking people to participate in a health and education survey (10/16).

In Ghana, approximately 500 students from six schools in the capital of Accra “joined the anti-poverty campaign” Friday, asking “world leaders to help bring relief to those locked in the state of deprivation,” Joy Online reports (10/17).

IPS examines small-scale agriculture in Mozambique, which is a significant issue in upcoming national elections. “The Mozambican government has identified small-scale agriculture production as the main tool to fight poverty in the country,” the publication writes, adding that the Stand Up Take Action campaign “will target candidates in Mozambique’s elections, to be held on Oct. 28.”

Ivone Soares, an opposition candidate from the RENAMO party, said, “We need an agriculture policy that meets the needs of Mozambican farmers… farmers need to find ways of selling their products in the markets… They also need incentives and tax exemptions when purchasing productions tools like fuel, tractors and seeds” (Machado, 10/16).

Just ahead of the campaign, IPS interviewed Sylvia Mwichuli, deputy director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign. The interview includes questions about MDGs, including one about the weakest progress towards an MDG. “There are challenges in meeting Goal Three, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and Goal Five, improving maternal health,” Mwichuli said (10/15).

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