Late Wednesday afternoon, U.S. President Barack Obama told a special United Nations conference on poverty and other social and economic issues that the key to successfully lowering poverty across the globe was in the promotion of economic development in regions afflicted.
At the Millennium Development Goals Summit he also warned that developing countries must take the lead to work towards self prosperity, that all must “combat corruption, which in many places is the single greatest barrier to prosperity.” He added that governments cannot alone achieve success, remarking, “Foundations and private sector and NGOs [Non-governmental organizations]are making historic commitments that have redefined what’s possible.”
The Millennium Development Goals Summits are meetings to discuss various key issues which world leaders have acknowledged are critical to a development agenda designed to help solve social and economic problems in developing countries. According to the summit webpage, these issues deal with “not about extreme poverty only, but also include goals and targets for education, maternal health, child mortality, public health, environmental sustainability and biodiversity.”
The first millennium development goals were adopted in 2000 with a target of 2015 for key achievements to be met by participating counties.
In his speech, Obama stated that we must move away from continually perpetuating some ill-conceived myths to which many still cling.
“Let’s put to rest the old myth that development is mere charity that does not serve our interests.” He continued in his address to the UN, “And let’s reject the cynicism that says certain countries are condemned to perpetual poverty, for the past half century has witnessed more gains in human development than at any time in history.”
In the pursuit of these goals, the President discussed several tiers to the path toward greater prosperity for nations striving to overcome poverty. These include defining development as helping nations to develop toward prosperity rather than just by counting capital and materials invested, building toward long term growth and prosperity in order to help lift counties out of poverty, encouraging “broad-based economic growth,” and insisting on “mutual accountability” of both the developing nations as well as nations adding those nations.
President Obama added that we must be “big-hearted but also hard-headed in our approach to development.”