The U.K. government plans to remodel its aid programs to focus more on helping to improve the lives of women in the developing world, the country’s deputy prime minister is expected to announce at the U.N. Millennium Development Goals summit in New York next week.
Nick Clegg will join world leaders at the high-level summit, where progress on achieving the MDGs will be reviewed. The deputy prime minister is expected to urge other countries to play their part in advancing progress while offering the U.K.’s leadership, particularly in helping to lift the status of women in developing countries, the Guardian reports.
“Clegg will commit to doubling the number of lives of women and babies saved through UK aid by 2015,” the newspaper adds. “As a result of the new strategy, he believes, at least 50,000 more women and 250,000 babies will survive and 10 million more couples will get access to family planning. He will challenge other countries – both donors and developing nations – to do more.”
Clegg and Andrew Mitchell, secretary of state for international development, will speak at a Bond-sponsored event Sept. 15 to outline the U.K. government’s priorities for the U.N. MDG summit. Clegg and Mitchell are also expected to discuss the government’s overall approach to fulfilling the U.K.’s MDG commitments.
Bond is a network of U.K. non-governmental organizations engaged in the international development field.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that he will launch a global strategy to promote women’s health and empowerment at the MDG summit, the U.N. News Center says.
Ban also stressed that the MDGs can be achieved if countries put in the right amount of effort and will.
“The MDGs are difficult and ambitious, but doable,” Ban said. “Many poor countries have made enormous progress. The world as a whole is on track to reduce poverty by half by 2015 – a tremendous achievement.”
The secretary-general did acknowledge that several countries are behind schedule.
“Inequities are growing within and among countries. Too often, global economic management neglects the poor and vulnerable. And the money we need – even though it is modest – is not yet there, a problem compounded by the economic crisis,” he said. “Our challenge is to put our resources where they will have the greatest impact: education, jobs, health, smallholder agriculture, infrastructure and green energy.”
Focus on water
Meanwhile, the final declaration of an international conference on global water issues held in Stockholm last week seeks a stronger focus on the water sector at the U.N. summit.
The Stockholm Statement, released at the conclusion of World Water Week, argues that addressing water issues is key to achieving all eight goals. Having access to clean water and quality sanitation facilities is a necessary element in the fight against poverty and hunger and in promoting gender equality and improving health and environmental sustainability, the statement says according to Euractiv.
“Sanitation and water are not just targets or sectors. They are the fundamental basis for life and indispensable to sustainable economic and social development,” the statement says.