Yesterday afternoon, President Obama delivered a speech at the United Nations in New York on international development. In that speech, he said "I suspect that some in wealthier countries may ask, with our economies struggling, so many people out of work, and so many families barely getting by, why a summit on development? And the answer is simple. In our global economy, progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders, including my fellow Americans.
"When a child dies from a preventable disease, it shocks all of our consciences. When a girl is deprived of an education or her mother is denied equal rights, it undermines the prosperity of their nation. When a young entrepreneur can't start a new business, it stymies the creation of new jobs and markets in that entrepreneur's country, but also in our own. When millions of fathers cannot provide for their families, it feeds the despair that can fuel instability and violent extremism. When a disease goes unchecked, it can endanger the health of millions around the world."
The preventable tragedies the President listed largely sum up the Millennium Development Goals, the world's shared commitment to alleviating enduring problems such as extreme poverty and hunger, infectious diseases, lack of education, child and maternal mortality, and gender inequality. World leaders have been meeting this week to assess global progress toward these goals and how we can accelerate progress toward meeting the 2015 deadline for addressing them.
Today's Photo of the Week is an image by Democracy Photo Challenge winner Dino Peric, who writes that "Democracy is... to have a dream about better future."
To allow more children to make this dream a reality, the United States co-hosted an event this week called "1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future: Partnering to Reduce Child Undernutrition.” Adequate nutrition is key to child development, particularly in the critical thousand-day window that includes the mother's pregnancy through a child's second birthday. As Secretary Clinton said at the event, “while we have life-saving solutions, they remain out of reach for hundreds of millions of people worldwide." Globally, 200 million children suffer from chronic under-nutrition; in some countries, as many as half of all children are affected.