Ban Ki-moon Expects USD45B in Commitments at MDG Summit

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the opening session of the U.N. summit on the Millennium Development Goals in New York. Photo by: Rick Bajornas

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he expects to secure new pledges of up to USD45 billion during the U.N. high-level summit on the Millennium Development Goals in New York.

Ban especially expects new financial commitments to the global effort to curb maternal and child mortality, which are among the most offtrack MDGs, The New York Times reports.

Some 140 world leaders are gathering in New York to discuss progress on the MDGs and plot an action plan for the next five years. The world leaders are expected to sign a new document recommitting countries to reaching the eight goals by their 2015 deadline.

>> UN MDG Declaration: What’s In, What’s Out

This declaration has been criticized by some members of the international aid community for being vague on details. Oxfam International said the document is not action-oriented.

>> NGOs: UN Strategy on MDGs Thin on Specifics

Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at the Columbia University and Ban’s special adviser on the goals, voiced a similar concern.

“There is no plan of action to complement what will be agreed upon,” Sachs said according to The New York Times. “There is a difference between lurching forward on good intentions and a range of unconnected initiatives versus having a high priority plan.”

Eurostep, a network of non-governmental organizations from 14 European countries, said it observed the same lack of action in the new outcome document, dubbed “Keeping the Promise – United to Achive the Millennium Development Goals.” The group urged European countries to step up at the U.N. summit.

“Next week the EU must state how it plans the practical implementation of its vision for the achievement of the MDGs. Rhetoric without action is not enough. And a vision without the political will to achieve it is just an illusion,” Simon Stocker, the director of Eurostep, said in a statement released ahead of the summit.

Lack of accountability

Other experts, meanwhile, lamented the lack of accountability for meeting the MDGs.

“If we miss the goals, who is going to punish us?” Esther Duflo, a development expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said according to The New York Times. “Nobody is going to come from Mars and say, ‘You didn’t reach the goals, so we will invade’ — there is no onus.”

Devex News – live breaking news coverage of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sept. 20-22 U.N. MDG summit in New York.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.