UN Millennium Project's "Investing in Development" was presented to Secretary-General Annan on 17 January, and welcomed by experts as cost-effective blueprint for achieving Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
In the most comprehensive strategy ever put forward for combating global poverty, hunger and disease, a blue-ribbon team of 265 of the world's leading development experts today proposed a package of scores of specific cost-effective measures that together could cut extreme poverty in half and radically improve the lives of at least one billion people in poor developing countries by 2015. The recommendations of the UN Millennium Project, an independent advisory body to the UN Secretary-General, are laid out in the report Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The report was presented to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today. Secretary-General Annan has said the fight against extreme poverty should be the top priority of the world community and the UN system in 2005.
"Until now, we did not have a concrete plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals," said Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, the economist who directed the three-year UN Millennium Project. "The experts who contributed to this huge undertaking have shown without a doubt that we can still meet the Goals-if we start putting this plan into action right now."
The UN Millennium Project's report was released as the Asian tsunami disaster focused global attention on the need, scale and effectiveness of aid to the world's poor. The enormously generous response to the tragedy sent a powerful message that ordinary citizens in wealthier nations do in fact support such aid-if they clearly see the need and if they believe the funds they provide will reach and help the people in need. The Project's plan addresses these legitimate concerns-and shows that targeted investments in essential public services such as health, education and infrastructure make poor communities less vulnerable to such disasters and to the hardships of disease, hunger and environmental degradation.
The Project report leads off a yearlong series of global initiatives aimed at making the Goals a reality, including a report to UN member states from the Secretary-General in March, which will draw heavily on the Project's recommendations. With world leaders gathering at the G8 meeting in July and again at the UN in September to accelerate progress towards the Goals, 2005 has become the key year for mobilizing international support for the fight against poverty and disease, UN officials stressed.
"The Project team has given us the biggest intellectual contribution to the development debate from the UN system in at least 20 years," said Mark Malloch Brown, the Secretary-General's incoming chief of staff and chairman of the United Nations Development Group, (UNDG).