Minister of State Power calls for a re-doubling of efforts to reach Millennium Development Goals
Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power T.D. addressed a Forum on Progress towards reaching the UN Millennium Goals held at the Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre in Dublin today. The Forum focused on reviewing how collaboration between Ireland, African Governments, International Organisations and NGOs is achieving real results at community level in Africa in reducing poverty. The Forum was also attended by Uganda’s Minister for Education and Sports, Ms Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire and by a number of other speakers from Malawi, Ethiopia and Mozambique. Participation was drawn from the NGO and academic community as well as from the Oireachtas.
Speaking at the Forum, Minister of State Power remarked ;
“As a champion of the Millennium Development Goals I recognise that working for their achievement is our collective responsibility. Ireland has a good record on the Millennium Development Goals. However we need to re-double our efforts internationally in the coming years to ensure that the Millennium Declaration becomes a reality for those still living in poverty”.
Ireland is making steady progress towards reaching the goal of spending 0.7% of our GNP on overseas development assistance by 2012. We are now the sixth largest aid donor in the world in per capita terms and total Irish spending on overseas development assistance is expected to reach €914m this year.
At the Forum, Danish Ambassador Henrik Reé Iversen handed Minister Power the “MDG 3 Gender Equality Champion Torch” , which Minister Power in turn passed to Minister Bitamazire of Uganda.
The initiative by the Danish Government is intended to increase international support for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ireland’s acceptance of the Torch signifies this commitment “to do something extra” in the area of gender.
Minister of State Power remarked :
“Irish Aid sees the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals’
Note for Editors
In 2000, at the United Nations’ Millennium Summit, 189 countries agreed on a set of 8 goals to be achieved by 2015 and stated that they would spare no effort to them:
Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
Achieving universal primary education
Promoting gender equality and empowering women
Reducing child mortality
Improving maternal health
Combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Ensuring environmental sustainability
Developing a global partnership for development
These 8 Millennium Development Goals have become a universal framework for development and provide the basis for developing countries and donors partners to work together in support of a better future for all. They inform Ireland’s approach to development.
At the mid point between their adoption and the 2015 target date, progress is mixed and, if they are to be achieved it will require sustained and concerted action from all countries.
MDGs High Level Meeting, New York, 25 September
A High Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals has been convened by the UN Secretary General to mark the midway point between the 2000 Millennium Summit (where the goals where agreed) and the 2015 target for their implementation. It follows an initiative by British PM Gordon Brown, the “MDG Call to Action”, which was endorsed by the former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD. Minister Power is now a Champion for the MDGs.
The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness commits the signatories, which include partner governments, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, regional development banks, and international agencies to the effective use of aid funds in order to improve the quality of aid.
On September 2-4, a High Level Forum in Accra, Ghana will consider progress against the commitments made in the Paris Declaration and agree an Agenda for Action to remove bottlenecks and accelerate progress. Ireland will participate both this Forum and the MDGs High Level Meeting in New York.
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