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Eradicate extreme poverty

May 6, 2010, 2:24 PM

To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger is the first goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

However, it's becoming increasing clear that many countries in the world today may not meet the target. In fact, the most difficult challenge facing many countries is the issue of reducing extreme poverty and hunger.

Some one billion people are said to go to bed hungry every day. This is serious, thus the need for more concerted efforts and commitments on the side of governments and development partners.

More than half way to the 2015 deadline to achieve the MDGs, major advances in the fight against poverty and hunger have begun to slow or even reverse, as a result of the global economic and food crises, a progress report by the United Nations has stated.

The assessment, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in Geneva, warns that despite many successes, overall progress has been too slowed for most of the targets to be met by 2015.

While the sub-Saharan Africa remains the developing region with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, there are significant achievements made so far.

Many individual countries around the region have recorded impressive gains on specific goals.

Nonetheless, we need to work very hard to reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day.

It's good to hear UNDP's Chief Helen Clark embarking on a four-country tour of Africa, to highlight progress towards the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the run-up to the MDGs Summit in September 2010.

She hailed the progress registered on eradicating extreme poverty in Africa, but to us this is a challenge for all those nations lacking behind to redouble their efforts.

To us, this is a serious issue and, therefore, calls for more programmatic initiatives and strategies. To achieve these goals, more community participation is needed in the designing, planning and implementation of programmes and activities.

We also urge the industrialised nations to deliver their aid commitments to the poor nations to help them meet the MDG targets.

We, therefore, recommend that civil society organisations should contribute actively to designing policies, delivering services, and monitoring progress.