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New goals set to end poverty and hunger

Updated: 2015-08-05 07:46
By Associated Press at the United Nations (China Daily)

The 193 member states of the United Nations have reached agreement on a new development agenda for the next 15 years that calls for eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving gender equality, improving living standards and taking urgent action to combat climate change.

The draft agreement reached on Sunday outlines 17 goals with 169 specific targets on issues ranging from ending poverty "in all its forms everywhere" to ensuring quality education and affordable and reliable energy, and protecting the environment.

"We can be the first generation that ends global poverty, and the last generation to prevent the worst impacts of global warming before it is too late," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Monday.

The document - "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" - will be adopted at a UN summit just before the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly starting on Sept 25. More than 160 world leaders are on the provisional speakers' list, which was released on Monday, including the presidents of China, Russia, Iran and France.

Ban said "the goals represent a 'to-do' list for people and the planet.

"They address the requirements for all humanity to be able to live decent lives free from poverty, hunger and inequality," he said. "They commit all of us to be responsible global citizens, caring for the less fortunate as well as for our planet's ecosystems and climate action on which all life depends."

New goals set to end poverty and hunger

The 17 new, nonbinding goals will succeed the eight Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders 15 years ago.

Elaine Geyer-Allely, who monitored the UN negotiations for the World Wildlife Fund, the world's largest independent conservation organization, said the new plan is a significant improvement because it recognizes that protecting the environment, eradicating poverty and promoting economic growth and well-being are interlinked.

Amina Mohammed, the UN special adviser on the post-2015 agenda, said more than 8,000 people were engaged in setting the new goals, including, for the first time, representatives from hundreds of organizations, businesses, parliaments and young people in addition to government officials.

In his final report last month on the Millennium Development Goals, Ban said the effort had helped lift more than 1 billion people out of extreme poverty over the past 15 years, enabled more girls to go to school and brought unprecedented results in fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Despite significant progress on all the goals, the only original one that was achieved ahead of time was halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, and that was due primarily to economic growth in China.

Ban stressed inequality remains, with 80 percent of people living on less than $1.25 a day in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and 60 percent in just five countries: China, India, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Congo.

(China Daily 08/05/2015 page10)

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