As part of the preparations for September’s summit on the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations has, for the first time, opened its summit process to the civil society, non-governmental organizations and private sector. The world body held June 14-15 informal and interactive hearings with NGOs, civil society and private sector representatives to get various perspectives on how to accelerate progress toward achieving the MDGs. A draft U.N. text for the MDG summit urges rich nations to increase their development assistance to realize the eight development goals. The U.N. Development Program is preparing an “International Assessment” of what it will take to reach the 2015 deadline, the agency’s chief, Helen Clark, said June 10 before the European Parliament.
The fight against poverty may be hampered by less productive and human capital investments due to lower development aid and reduced tax revenues, according to the World Bank. The developing world faces an overall financing gap of USD210 billion this year, the lender’s Global Economic Prospects 2010 notes. The World Bank is tapping emerging economies and even considering allowing donors to stretch their donations in installment plans to raise funding for the International Development Association, the lender’s arm that provides interest-free loans to the world’s poorest countries. The Washington-based lender, along with the Asian Development Bank, temporarily halted the release of some USD1.5 billion for Pakistani projects following the failure of the government to deliver tax and power sector reforms.
The European Investment Bank lowered its funding target this year to 70 billion euros (USD85 billion), down from the 80 billion euros it announced in February. Meanwhile, the European Union’s 1 billion-euro food facility has helped fed 50 million people worldwide. More than half of the facility’s funding has so far been disbursed. The European Commission has produced a booklet consolidating the best 84 ready-to-go, high-quality food security projects, which form part of the proposals received when the food facility launched a call for proposals in 2009.
The Americas are set to benefit from development initiatives backed by philanthropists. In Colombia, small and medium-sized enterprises may access assistance from a USD20 million fund unveiled by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and billionaires Frank Giustra and Carlos Slim. Meanwhile, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Health Institute of the Carlos Slim Foundation, together with the Spanish government and Inter-American Development Bank, are supporting a five-year initiative to improve health services in Central America and Southern Mexico.