World’s poorest being bypassed, UN warns

2013-07-01 11:38

Geneva – The UN Millennium Development Goals have been improving the lives of millions across the world, but people in very poor regions have not been sharing in the progress, the UN has said.

UN goals to fight poverty and hunger, promote gender equality and education, and widen access to water and health services were first outlined in 2000 and agreed to by UN members.

Aid money to the least developed countries fell 13% to $26 billion last year, according to the annual report charting progress on the Millennium Development Goals until the 2015 deadline.

This decline was sharper than the 4% reduction seen across all developed countries, which received a total $126 billion in foreign aid.

The report said child welfare was a key area where the world’s least developed regions are losing out.

As child mortality has been falling in richer developing countries, the world’s poorest regions of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa now account for a growing share of such deaths – 83% of the 6.9 million deaths occurred in these two regions in 2011.

“Our attention needs to focus on disparities, which often stand in the way of further improvements,” said Wu Hongbo today, the UN undersecretary general for economic and social affairs.

People in rural areas are also often at a disadvantage.

Only around half of mothers in rural areas get help from health workers during childbirth, compared to 84% in cities in development countries, the report showed.

The Millennium Development Goals of sharply reducing extreme poverty, boosting access to drinking water and improving the lives of slum dwellers have been achieved, the UN said.

There has also been strong progress in fighting malaria and TB, reducing hunger and breaking down trade barriers.

More needs to be done in the areas of child and mother health, HIV, sanitation and education, the report said.

It also warned that environmental goals are not being met.

“Forests continue to be lost at an alarming rate,” the report said, noting that the world’s poorest rely on forests for food, fuel and medicines.

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