World vision: Global leaders 'dismally off-track' for reaching their own goals addressing poverty

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New York/Chennai, Sept 25 (ANI/Business Wire India): As the world's leaders convene at the United Nations this week, one leading international humanitarian organization contends progress is "dismally off-track" for meeting 2015 goals for helping address poverty and injustice.

"If the heads of state, business and financial leaders and others ignore our call and fail to act, the Millennium Development Goals will, quite simply, be unattainable," said Dean R. Hirsch, president of World Vision International.

"This month's meeting is the last chance for the international community to demonstrate its resolve and honour its commitment to the world's poorest people," Dean added.

Hirsch noted that among all eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), reaching numbers four, five and six - reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating AIDS, malaria and other diseases - is foundational to addressing severe poverty in the developing world. Moreover, he noted nations have the resources, including food and medicine.

"We have the solutions to implement and thereby prevent the deaths of millions of children each year," said Hirsch, who is addressing world leaders and UN officials September 25 in a series of meetings on the MDGs. "But governments lack the political will," Hirsch added.

The goals were established in 2000. Meetings this week at the UN are a reminder that world leaders are halfway to the date they set to accomplish the goals.

"Recognising that good health is fundamental to breaking the cycle of poverty, and is foundational to a child's well being, World Vision has placed community-based maternal and child health at the core of our global health strategy, and we are investing heavily in efforts to help achieve MDGs 4, 5 and 6. That investment currently totals about 450 million dollars on health," Hirsch said.

"World Vision is increasing it commitment with more money and more staff to more effectively target community-based maternal and child health and promote access to primary care. We believe that in three years we can significantly reduce malnutrition for children under five and improve the health of up to five million children," added Hirsch

Speaking on the event from Chennai, the National Director of World Vision India, Dr. Jayakumar Christian said, "In India, the situation is concerning."

The United Nations Children's Fund has said that it is a "fundamental truth" that unless India and China achieve major improvements in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, gender equality and child protection, global efforts to reach the MDGs will fail.

"We strongly urge the Prime Minister, who is attending the event to increase investment in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) - the largest programme in the world focused on child survival and maternal health to move towards achievement of MDGs 4 and 5," said Dr. Jayakumar, "All we are asking for is the promise of 'universalisation of ICDS with quality' made in the National Common Minimum Programme of the ruling coalition be kept - for the sake of India's children."

Speaking at various forums on the MDGs, Hirsch notes that if national leaders accept responsibility for the inadequate progress towards the MDGs, and agree to replicate and scale up successes, there is "a genuine possibility of fulfilling the promises made to the world's poorest people in 2000," Hirsch said.

"This is a moral imperative. Every child who dies in extreme poverty represents an unacceptable loss of human potential," Hirsch added.

ANI

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