Monday, January 29, 2007

UN Secretary General: 07 is a "critical year"
People's Daily Online, China

[Editor: My church back home, a pretty evangelical Methodist church, has no plans to support the MDGs or advocate to the Methodist Church in Singapore. Their excuse is that they already donate more than .7% of their budget to charity works in developing countries. This is very commendable; I've already said that developed-world churches should have developing-world partners. But, the MDGs aren't about charity. They're about development.

Methodists are supposed to have a strong social conscience, and I don't know why my church back home is sitting on their asses. Pastor Edmund De Souza, you damn well better read this.]

The United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said 2007 is a critical year for the world body's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at reducing poverty when he spoke Monday in Addis Ababa at the opening of the two-day summit of the African Union (AU).

"If we are to make the target date of 2015, we have to see concerted action in 2007 -- the mid-point in the work to reach the MDGs," Ban said when addressing the opening ceremony of the 8th AU Summit of heads of state.

Ban, who assumed his post as UN chief earlier this month, pledged to convene in the coming months a working group on Africa and the MDGs, a coalition of the willing bringing together key African stakeholders, as well as international organizations and donors.

"We will aim to meet by March, to formulate an action plan supporting practical initiatives for accelerating progress in 2007 and 2008," Ban said.

"We will work to ensure the plan is ready in time for the Group of Eight summit in June," he added.

The AU summit, held in the pan-African body's headquarters in Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, is expected to focus on science, technology and scientific research for development, and climate change in Africa.

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