World leaders will be meeting in New York September 20 to 22 to discuss how to accelerate progress toward meeting the 2015 deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight goals call for (1) eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; (2) achieving universal primary education; (3) promoting gender equality and empowering women; (4) reducing child mortality; (5) improving maternal health; (6) combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; (7) ensuring environmental sustainability; and (8) developing a global partnership for development.
The United States fully embraces these goals. As we move toward the September meeting, it is critical that we take stock of what we have learned.
We know that historic rates of progress are possible, particularly when political leaders are committed to good governance, to pursuing economic growth, and to making investments in their citizens. We know that development assistance can yield impressive results in fighting disease, boosting agricultural productivity, educating citizens, and empowering civil society; yet while essential, aid cannot bring about development in the absence of domestic policies and international flows of trade, investment, skills, and ideas that create opportunities for lasting economic growth. We know that sustained development outcomes depend on partnership, with local institutions and communities in charge, supported with the tools they need to find solutions and transform their destinies. And we know that the road ahead is likely to be challenging, with poor governance, conflict, and social exclusion as major impediments to reaching those suffering from poverty and lacking access to basic services.
What concrete steps can we take to help overcome these obstacles and meet the MDGs?