British Prime Minister Brown To Call on Multinational Companies To Assist in Efforts To Meet Millennium Development Goals
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday said he plans to call on at least 20 of the largest multinational companies to help global efforts aimed at meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, London's Guardian reports (Elliott, Guardian, 12/10).
Brown said he would be calling for an MDG "action meeting" during the United Nation General Assembly in September 2009 to "galvanize" efforts to accomplish the targets, which include curbing the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (PA/Guardian, 12/10). Brown also will use a conference in London early next year, as well as a meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in Japan next summer, to "provide fresh impetus" to meet the MDGs, AFP/CNNMoney.com reports (AFP/CNNMoney.com, 10/9).
"We are half way to the target date of 2015, but a long way off track to our goals and face a development emergency," Brown said, adding, "2008 should be a development year and mark a call to action from everyone -- not just rich and poor governments, but civil society, faith groups, trade unions and even the private sector" (Guardian, 12/10). Brown said that the "international community needs to face up to this development emergency," adding, "We know what to do -- we need to keep our promises and act" (AFP/CNNMoney.com, 10/9). According to the Guardian, Brown said he believes a lack of enterprise is keeping the least-developed countries, such as nations in sub-Saharan Africa, from achieving the MDGs. Brown added that he hopes the private sector can be persuaded to use its resources and expertise to improve infrastructure, upgrade skills and provide capital for new investments.
Kevin Watkins, editor of the U.N. annual human development report, said that achieving growth without attempting to tackle inequality will not put global efforts back on track to meet the MDGs. Peter Salama, UNICEF's chief medical officer, said a priority should be establishing adequate health systems in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia (Guardian, 12/10).