Later today, President Obama will be speaking in New York at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit and tomorrow at the UN General Assembly. Hopes are high that he will detail how the U.S. is planning to improve its global development policy. Some might even see this as a huge missed opportunity if the Obama Administration falls short of broad foreign assistance reform. At what will provide even more detail on the Administration’s new development policy, later this month the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition will be hosting a roundtable including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes in order to discuss findings from the Presidential Study Directive (PSD) — now called the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD). Expectations are that the ideas presented will be similar to those stated in the past, but perhaps more specific about what exactly the Administration will be doing and how these goals will be achieved.
While this week is big for U.S. development policy, it’s also a big week for MFAN’s Partners. Below we highlight five of our partners and share what they’re doing and saying around the Big Apple.
Oxfam activists will be in New York this week working to refocus world leaders’ attention on their original goal of halving world hunger by 2015. Ten years have passed and the rate of hunger has only decreased by half of one percent – and that was only due to two years of good harvests. Irungu Houghton, the Pan-Africa director from Oxfam Great Britain, spoke at a rally in front of the Lincoln Center on Monday; he explained to the crowd present that the current global economic crisis is not responsible for insufficient progress in realizing the MDGs. Rather, it is caused by world leaders hitting the snooze button on some of the world’s most pressing issues. Oxfam believes that the goal of halving world hunger by 2015 is still possible, but only with serious coordinated political action and an annual increase of $75 billion in aid.
Representatives from the ONE Campaign will be at the UN Summit in NY reporting the progress live on their blog. They, like many others, are hoping for precise plans to be laid out instead of more good rhetoric. Although Sub-saharan Africa is far from achieving the MDGs, several nations have been making significant progress due to good governance, strong economic management and global partnerships. ONE Campaign believes that these factors build a foundation for long-term development and prosperity. Scaled up efforts based on proven results from the past 10 years must be made in order for progress to continue.
Save the Children’s “Good Goes” campaign is working hard in New York at the UN Summit this week to put pressure on world leaders to take further action in preventing the deaths of millions of children caused by treatable and avoidable illnesses. The campaign’s blog outlines the core belief that small actions of informed, passionate individuals can contribute meaningfully. In addition, the Global Campaign for Education, which Save the Children is a partner of, is urging leaders to keep their financial promises and for others to step up donations in order for the goal of universal primary education by 2015 to succeed. They are providing live coverage of the unfolding events with Facebook updates and Twitter feeds.
Bread for the World gives three main reasons as to why the MDG Summit matters to its supporters and the world. First, they acknowledge that too often, world leaders make promises but are then not held accountable. Bread urges its supporters to use their voice in driving critical action. Second, direct personal action must be taken through the form of writing letters to members of Congress, working at local food pantries and educating others to elevate the issue of hunger here and abroad. Lastly, Bread calls for the world to unite in this effort to end global hunger by raising its level of commitment and funding. Overall, Bread for the World stresses that the eight interrelated MDGs are achievable because of the ability to assess the progress of the measurable targets.
Earlier this week, MFAN Co-Chair and Bread for the World President Rev. David Beckmann participated in a side event, alongside Secretary of State Clinton, to launch the “1000 Days Event: Change a Life, Change the Future” campaign. Beckmann said, “By engaging the public on the importance of investing in maternal and child nutrition, the ‘1,000 Days’ campaign has the potential to be a powerful advocacy tool.”
The Global Health Council focuses on all eight of the MDGs, but particularly the health-related MDGs, namely, MDG 4 (Reduce child mortality), MDG 5 (Improve maternal health) and MDG 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). This week they will be watching for the leaders of the world to assess the progress of the past ten years and reevaluate the work that still needs to be done in the upcoming five.
To learn more about the MDGs, read the newly updated US’s Strategy for meeting the MDGs by 2015: Celebrate, Innovate, and Sustain.