MDGs Still In Reach, But 2015 Deadline Will Be Missed, Bill Gates Says

The U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can still be attained if developed nations meet their aid pledges, but the 2015 deadline likely will be missed, Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in remarks to the European Parliament’s development committee in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday, EUobserver reports. Gates is traveling in Europe this week.

In May 2005, EU-15 member states reaffirmed a previous aid commitment to give 0.7 percent of their gross national income (GNI) to poorer countries by 2015, also settling on an intermediary commitment of 0.51 percent by 2010.

“The increase, if we got to this 0.7 percent, would be 20 billion euros in addition to what is being given today. Given what we now know on how to spend that money well, it would make a huge difference,” Gates said, adding, “That would give you the money to achieve the MDGs, not by 2015, but within 10 years.”

Gates also noted the large role government funding plays in development aid. “If you take international aid, private philanthropy, even with our foundation and others, is less than two percent of what’s given to poor countries,” he said. “I think we can grow it [philanthropy], and I think it has a special role … but in terms of the big things, really helping poor countries with health and agriculture, it’s government foreign aid,” according to Gates (Willis, 4/5). He also called for more involvement from the private sector, the Guardian reports. “We need more philanthropists – drug companies, banks, mobile phone, mineral companies,” he said (Vidal, 4/5).