UN seeks aid beyond governments to further anti-poverty goals

Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships

15 September 2010 – As the United Nations seeks to ramp up progress at a world summit next week to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to slash a host of social ills by 2015, officials are stressing the roles that everybody beyond governments and international organizations has to play.

On the margins of the main summit, government leaders and prominent figures in the areas of science, technology, culture and business will come together in a second high-level meeting starting on 22 September to discuss the critical threats and opportunities presented by globalization at the local and global levels.

This second gathering, the 2010 Blouin Creative Leadership Summit, will bring together 120 leading figures and is a think-tank forum organized by the Louise Blouin Foundation in collaboration with the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP).

“It is a globalization platform to attract innovators, academic experts [and] Nobel laureates to find new ways of addressing the challenges,” UNOP Executive Director Amir Dossal told a news conference today.

“In essence this is a response to the call by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to say we must find new ways of addressing these challenges. We just cannot continue on the basis of traditional methodology. We must engage all the actors. The MDGs belong to all of us not just the governments not just the UN but to the world at large. So we have a personal social responsibility to address these calls.”

The MDGs aim to slashing extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, rampant diseases, and lack of access to education and health services, all by the deadline of 2015. UNOP serves as a gateway for partnership opportunities with the UN, promoting new collaborations and alliances to further the MDGs.

Blouin Foundation chairperson Louise Blouin, a Canadian magazine publisher and philanthropist, stressed the need to “bring awareness” to the entrepreneurs of the world that they must engage, and she highlighted the importance of cultural respect.

“Cultural respect is at the forefront of sending help and aid to other countries,” she said. “You can’t send aid to Africa or somewhere else in the world that does not engage with their culture or tradition because they won’t use the aid.”

The two-day meeting will discuss a spectrum of issues, from global health and global security to Africa and the Middle East.

“Issues such as climate change, poverty in Africa or conflict in the Middle East cannot be solved by political or economic means alone, but rather require an awareness of ethical and cultural values, as well as advances in science and technology,” Ms. Blouin said.

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