Pretoria – With the 2015 deadline looming for countries to meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), South Africa on Thursday joined other nations gathered in Japan for a meeting to assess progress made.
The two-day meeting, attended by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, is co-hosted by the UN, the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The MDGs are a set of targets established by the United Nations in 2000, aimed at responding to the world’s development challenges, including poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, health issues and the environment.
Officials said on Thursday that discussions at the meeting were expected to focus on several issues, including closing the MDGs implementation gap with equity, strengthening coordination among a broad range of stakeholders and accelerating results to achieve the MDGs by 2015.
Nkoana-Mashabane is scheduled to address the gathering later in the day.
President Jacob Zuma has in the past praised South Africa’s progress with regards to its MDGs, citing interventions on HIV and Aids and improvements in health and education. However, observers say following the global economic crisis, some developed countries have limited their funding for fighting poverty in Africa.
Zuma told the third Africa-European Union Summit in Tripoli, Libya, in December that all nations needed a far greater sense of urgency if the targets were to be met.
“If Africa fails to achieve the MDGs, the world at large would have failed to achieve them, thereby undermining the very purpose of adopting them in the first place as international targets for human development,” he said. – BuaNews