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UN Gathers This Week to Eradicate Poverty Through the MDGs

By Sonya Perez-Lauterbach

The UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is taking place this week at the UN Headquarters in New York City. A gathering of 140 world leaders are strategizing and discussing how to achieve the eight goals in order to eradicate extreme poverty and its root causes by 2015. I was deeply inspired by their work and their words. Here are my reflections…

“We must not fail the billions who look to the international community to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Declaration for a better world. Let us meet in September to keep the promise.”
-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

One of the first news alerts that I heard on my way to work Monday morning–the first day of the three-day summit–was from CNN. The network reported that http://www.opportunity.org/blog/ban-ki-moon-visits-opportunity-malawi-mobile-bank/UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon[/intlink] is urging the world’s presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens not to waver from the eight anti-poverty aims established a decade ago with the UN Millennium Declaration.

During the summit this week, there have been a variety of opinions shared on how the goals should be addressed by world leaders. According to CNN, French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed levying a tax on transactions through the world banking system and applying those funds to efforts to meet the goals, while Bolivian President Evo Morales proposed the establishment of a bank for developing countries in the Southern Hemisphere in Africa and Asia. The bank, if funded with a percentage of the countries’ international reserves, could help the developing countries attain more economic independence, President Morales said.

Though I know there is no silver bullet to reaching the goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015, that doesn’t preclude any country or individual from making it a priority. With a serious plea from Mr. Ban to maintain the momentum toward reaching the goals and keep them a priority, especially in light of the recent economic downturn, I was encouraged to see that a decade later the MDGs have not fallen to the wayside for these world leaders.

There are many ways to reduce poverty, whether through international economic policy, through access to http://www.opportunity.org/blog/back-to-school/education[/intlink], or through business development and microeconomics. I am encouraged and inspired to hear that these influential leaders are exploring poverty eradication through these methods.

If you had the attention of those attending the UN Summit this week, what would you encourage them to consider as they seek to reduce extreme poverty? What steps do you think the leaders need to make a priority? Share your perspective in the comment field below.

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