At a high-level forum last month at the Carter Center, leaders
and representatives of developing countries and international development
organizations called attention to the lack of progress toward achieving
the Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty.
The goals, endorsed by 189 countries at the September 2000 United
Nations (UN) Millennium General Assembly in New York, call for extreme
poverty to be reduced worldwide by half by 2015 and to provide education,
improve health and preserve the environment.
World leaders who convened for the Development Cooperation Forum
Feb. 2122 included President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary
of the Treasury Robert Rubin, World Bank President James Wolfensohn,
UN Development Programme Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and the
presidents of Guyana, Mali and Mozambique. They noted that although
more than 1 billion people live in abject poverty, there is a lack
of political energy in rich countries to help their poorer neighbors.
The forum called attention to the urgent need to move beyond
rhetoric and put into action a plan in which resources are fully
committed, Carter said. The consensus of nations on
how to fight global poverty has never been as strong as it is today.
Citing the increasing interdependence of developed and underdeveloped
countries, the leaders said the wealthiest countries must commit
greater financial resources through more aid and debt relief and
create greater access to markets. On their part, the underdeveloped
countries recognized the need to take bold steps to reduce corruption
and use aid more effectively.
I do think we have a tremendous amount of self-interest in
increasing development assistance, said Rubin, who co-chaired
the conference with Carter. Poverty can foment hopelessness,
resentment and anger, which in turn can lead to instability and
The Carter Centers Global Development Initiative (GDI), which
hosted the forum, will continue to track these issues and work with
its four partner countriesAlbania, Guyana, Mali and Mozambiqueto
develop comprehensive National Development Strategies (NDS).
After an invitation from a government, GDI brings together civil
leaders, business leaders, and representatives of nongovernmental
organizations to contribute to an NDS. This diverse input is crucial
to foster long-term democratic progress and sustainable development.
Such collaboration is likely to result in better, more appropriate
development policies because they are based on the knowledge and
experience of those most affected by development problems.
A National Development Strategy strengthens democracy and
respect for human rights by reinforcing democratic institutions
and supporting a more participatory, cooperative and democratic
culture, Carter said. When citizens have a greater stake
in formulating the NDS and feel that it is their own, they view
their democratic institutions with a greater sense of legitimacy.