On Thursday night I got to attend a lecture on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) given at Auckland University by Salil Shetty, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign (Thanks AUSA for hosting the event). After a hectic end to the day and another meeting to get to that night I almost gave it a miss but SOOO stoked that I popped by!
The Millennium Development Goals were set by the United Nations in the year 2000 to halve world poverty by 2015. Eight targeted and measurable goals were developed and all United Nations member countries pledged to do their bit to see them come to completion. They are:
1. Eradicate extreeme poverty and hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
3. Promote gender equallity and empower women.
4. Reduce child mortality.
5. Improve maternal health.
6. Combat HIV Aids, Malaria and other diseases.
7. Ensure environmental sustailability.
8. Build global partnerships for development.
The MDG's and various "call to action" campaigns have really developed my world view on what it is to be a global citizen in a world where economics and financial gain often outweigh justice and compassion.
It was really interesting to hear Salil Shetty speak about how citizens action on MDGs needs a second wind to build political will, for example the Make Poverty History campaign in 2000 and the Halve it campaign of Micah Challenge in July 2007. Where to now in 2009?
Shalil says that New Zealand needs to URGENTLY commit to a timetable with intermediate targets to reach the .7 percent of our Gross National Income that we have pledged to give to international aid with the target date of 2015. He says we should be giving greatest priority to the pacific and the poorest areas in Asia. Something that struck me was that amidst all the political jargon was, that as a United Nations member country, it is our responsibility to see these pledges through to fruition. Not based on who our government was in 2000 or who will make up our leaders in 2015.
In the last 9 years where the "War on Terror" and the "Financial Crisis" have been history making, Shalil asks:
"When will these “crisis” stop being an excuse for not making a radical difference in our world?"Amen.
ahhhh! Time for action! It's a worrying time where New Zealand needs to make some crucial steps towards our MDG's commitment - that combined with a possible change to the way New Zealand distributes aid the time for action is NOW. Check out Oxfam's info on the "Don't corrupt aid" campaign.