U.N. goals to slash poverty, hunger achievable: draft

A set of U.N. goals aimed at drastically reducing poverty and hunger worldwide by 2015 are achievable, despite setbacks caused by the global financial and economic crises, a draft document said.

The 27-page draft declaration on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals is expected to be formally adopted at a September 20-22 summit meeting at the United Nations which U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are expected to attend.

“The Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, including in the poorest countries, with renewed commitment, effective implementation, and intensified collective action by all (U.N.) member states and other relevant stakeholders,” said the draft, which was obtained by Reuters Thursday.

It says the economic and financial crisis represented a serious obstacle for the goals, which were agreed in 2000 and are aimed at halving poverty, slashing hunger, improving gender equality and improving access to health care and education.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact of the financial and economic crisis — the worst since the Great Depression,” the draft says. “It has reversed development gains in many developing countries and threatened to seriously undermine the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.”

All 192 U.N. member states, as well as international blocs like the European Union, African Union and organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and others are expected to participate in the three-day summit.