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To Achieve MDGs, Economic Policies Must Help Poor, UNDP Head Says

Economic policies that help the poor will bring the world closer to meeting the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] – “[g]lobal targets to halve poverty and improve basic health by 2015,” Helen Clark, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) administrator, said Friday at the end of a four-nation tour of Africa, Agence France-Presse reports.

“Fast economic growth hasn’t had a lot of impact on poverty,” Clark said, adding, “Chances are that despite the international recession and the other crises that have been experienced, the poverty goal can be achieved.” Clark highlighted China as an example. “The incredible progress and achievement of China in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty of course lifts the global figure,” she said, noting that China should be able to reach the target of halving the number of people living on less than one dollar per day. 

But other MDG targets, such as the goals of reducing infant and maternal mortality, will be more difficult to reach, according to Clark. “Maternal health is a goal that is struggling pretty much at a global level,” she said. “If we can get a focus on where the priorities need to be, and international agreement around that … then I’m optimistic that we can indeed achieve these goals,” Clark said of the upcoming MDG summit, planned for September (5/17).

On Saturday, Clark announced “8 Goals for Africa,” a musical collaboration between the UNDP and “eight renowned African musicians to call for commitments in Africa toward” reaching the MDGs, PANA/Afrqiue en ligne reports.

“There can be no spectators in the fight against poverty,” Clark said at the launch. “Everyone has a role to play in scoring the 8 Millennium Development Goals, which, if reached, would improve the quality of life for many hundreds of millions of people across developing countries,” she said.

The music video and related materials are available here (5/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.