Leaders pledge to end poverty in 15 years

  • 26/09/2015
Pope Francis addresses attendees in the opening ceremony to commence a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York (Reuters)
Pope Francis addresses attendees in the opening ceremony to commence a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York (Reuters)

World leaders have pledged to end extreme poverty in 15 years, launching an ambitious UN development agenda that sets priorities for trillions of dollars in spending.

The 17 goals and 169 targets aim to end poverty, ensure healthy lives, promote education and combat climate change, at a cost of between US$3.5 and US$5 trillion per year until 2030.

The new UN agenda will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) that expire this year, but its objectives are much more ambitious in scope.

Critics say the goals lack precise definition and point to a history of grand pledges at the UN - without necessarily following through on them.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the plan as a "to-do list for people and planet" that laid out a "universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world."

"The true test of commitment to agenda 2030 will be implementation," Ban told leaders. "We need action from everyone, everywhere."

Contrary to the MDGs, the new global goals apply to both developing and developed countries and negotiations were opened up to governments and civil society, not only to UN experts.

Billions of dollars in development aid will be redirected to meet the targets but the United Nations also wants to tap into local sources of financing through improved revenue collection.

The global goals call for improved transparency in oil-producing countries to clamp down on corruption and ensure that revenues from natural resources are used to improve the lives of citizens.

International financial institutions such as the African Development Bank and the World Bank will step up with financing support for major infrastructure projects that would have a knock-on effect in combating poverty.

Much attention has focused on ending extreme poverty for 836 million people still struggling on the margins of survival, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

AFP

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