Where does US Stand on UN Proposal to End World Poverty?

On January 17, a 3,000-page report from the Millennium Project
— researched by 265 scientists, economists, academics, and
development experts from around the globe — was handed to United
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. It outlined in detail how the
UN can eliminate extreme poverty throughout the world by 2015.

Headed by Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, the
Millennium Project aims to make the world a safer place for all its
inhabitants through poverty elimination and education. Citizen’s
for Global Solutions reports on their web site that ‘the Millennium
Goals are considered crucial to the success of international
efforts to reign in terrorism and violent instabilities within and
between countries.’ They quote Sachs, who says, ‘breaking the
poverty trap of the poorest countries is a matter of extreme
urgency for our security. When people lack access to food, medical
care, safe drinking water, and a chance at a better future, their
societies are likely to experience instability and unrest that
spills over to the rest of the world.’

The Millennium Project’s web site points out that providing
world citizens living in poverty with infrastructure, access to
health care, and an education will make them less vulnerable to
disasters, hunger, and environmental degradation. For instance,
‘every year, 300 to 500 million cases of illness worldwide are due
to malaria,’ something that could be eliminated by giving people
living in susceptible areas mosquito nets for their beds.

Because the plan’s financial structure is front-loaded, one of
the UN’s biggest obstacles will be convincing G-8 countries to
double their foreign aid. The United States and other UN countries
pledged to give 0.7% of their GDP to global development at the
Millennium Summit in 2000. Currently, the actual international
development funding average for UN countries is .25%, with the
United States giving only 0.15%.

The Millennium Project lists 13 international governments on its
web site that have voiced supported for the Millennium Project
since the release of its report one month ago. The US has yet to
make the list. Don Kraus, executive vice president for Citizens for
Global Solutions, points out that, unlike President Clinton,
President Bush does not have an ambassador to the UN on his
cabinet, which has been ‘problematic’ when dealing with the
international community. He also notes that while Bush has vowed
‘to defend our security and spread freedom by building effective
multinational and multilateral institutions,’ relations between the
US and the UN have not been strong in the past few years; a
situation made worse when Sen. Norm Coleman called for the
resignation of Kofi Annan over the Oil for Food scandal.

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Africa Can Escape Poverty

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UN Report Calls for Cut in World Poverty by 2015

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UN Millennium

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