USG Sha Zukang and Millennium Development Goals
A Blueprint for Development
When Mr. Sha addressed the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review held during the high-level segment of the annual session of the Economic and Social Council (6-9 July 2009) in Geneva, Switzerland, he described the Millennium Development Goals as “the prominent expression of [DESA’s] development aspirations”.
He pointed out that the MDGs “reflect the recognition that development requires an integrated and comprehensive approach. Our goals in poverty eradication, alleviation of hunger, health, environment and global partnership are intertwined. Ignoring any one at the expense of another would have serious consequences.”
“This cannot be stressed enough now, as the world confronts food, energy and the climate crises… We have to address these issues coherently, in collaboration with all our partners,” he said.
Impact of the Global Financial and Economic Crisis
Mr. Sha has pointed out that the global financial and economic crisis “affects all countries, with a serious and disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable.”
“Livelihoods of rural and urban poor families are already deteriorating rapidly. Jobs are being lost in most regions at a quick pace, with women in developing countries being disproportionately affected. Government expenditures and social protection systems will be negatively impacted.”
“There is a grave risk of reversing progress towards the MDGs. This would mean negative consequences not only for human well-being, development and economic growth, but also for peace and stability. An entire generation could be put at risk in many countries.”
“Achieving the MDGs by 2015 will become more difficult and more costly, as the crisis only increases the catch-up effect… in many low and middle-income countries.”
At the Global Forum on ICT and Innovation for Education in Monterrey, Mexico in September 2009, Mr. Sha talked about the progress made on the MDGs. He said that with some six years remaining before 2015, the latest MDG Report showed that progress had been mixed.
“Some goals are on target. For instance, enrolment in primary education has risen from 83 per cent in 2000 to 88 percent in 2007. Child mortality is decreasing steadily. High growth rates achieved by the least developed countries in recent years had raised hopes for significant reductions in poverty in these countries,” he said.
He noted that “however, the current global downturn risks reversing some of the positive trends. It is estimated that 55 to 90 million more people will [soon] fall below the poverty line.”