1 October 2002 Warning that the world is falling short in meeting the objectives agreed by global leaders two years ago when they adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today outlined a series of steps to help accelerate progress to reach the text’s development goals.
“If we carry on as we are, most of the pledges are not going to be fulfilled,” the Secretary-General told reporters in New York. “On all our broad objectives – human rights, democracy, good governance, the resolution of conflicts, and the special needs of Africa – we are moving too slowly.”
The Secretary-General presented his latest report on the issue, painting a mixed picture of progress. Over the past decade, East Asia has already halved the proportion of people living on less than one dollar per day – from 28 per cent to 14. South Asia, where nearly half the world’s poor still live, has seen a more modest drop: from 44 per cent to 37 per cent. But in Africa, where ten years ago 48 per cent of people were living on one dollar a day or less, the figure today is 47 per cent. “In ten years, Africa has only managed to cut the proportion by one forty-eighth,” he noted.
Success, the Secretary-General stressed, would depend on national efforts. “It is not here at the United Nations that these goals can be achieved,” he said. “All we can do is keep reminding governments of their pledges, and urging them to do whatever is needed to make those pledges come true.”
In order to do its part, he announced the launch of a UN Millennium Campaign. In addition to reporting on progress each year, the Secretary-General pledged that the UN would “also help every developing country to produce its own annual report – so that in each country the people will know how they are doing.”
To help drive the new Campaign, Mr. Annan announced the appointment of Eveline Herfkens, former Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, as an adviser to assist him with the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals by helping to spread awareness of them and to build new coalitions for action to achieve them in both developed and developing countries. “She has already done a great deal to bring the Millennium Development Goals to the top of the global agenda,” he said.
With the news focus currently on Iraq, the Secretary-General pointed out that the UN must think of the rest of the world as well, “especially the well over a billion people who struggle to survive on less than a dollar a day, without clean water or sanitation, and go to bed hungry every night.