U.N. sets unlikely goals

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World hunger has decreased … sort of. For the first time in 15 years, the number of people facing hunger is 925 million, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

After the number swelled to 1.023 billion due to the global food and economic crisis, the drop is an important step in the right direction, or least a step of recovery, but it is not nearly enough for 2010.

In 2000, the United Nations developed an ambitious program. They called it the Millennium Development Goals. As the calendars rolled into 2000, the U.N. wanted a goal for the future – something to aspire to.

They decided to start the 21st century by attacking what may be the most significant world issues. The goals assert that developed nations have the resources and the responsibility necessary to finally provide for the most basic needs of the world’s poorest people.

The goals to be met by 2015 are to cut poverty in half, increase education for children, end hunger and defeat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

The U.N. gathered again on Sept. 20, and the goals must be a major focus of the General Assembly. 2010 is a road mark in the 15-year plan, and the goals are not being met. Not even close.

The goals said poverty in developing countries would be slashed to 10 percent. Even with the drop this year, poverty sits at 16 percent. This is far from the goal, and most of the positive results are in a small sample of countries.

In Africa, malnutrition and hunger are as daunting as ever. Disease is still rampant, and few HIV prevention movements have had significant results. To keep these goals from becoming just more U.N. rhetoric without action, nations will have to focus intently on aiding the continent.

Life in the western world has changed dramatically since 2000, while poverty in developing nations has nearly stagnated. Even luxuries have changed. At the turn of the millennium, cell phones were uncommon, and now even middle school students spend hours texting friends. The iPod became another necessity, as the digital music market soared. TVs got bigger, sharper, flatter and of higher definition.

Movies even added a whole new dimension, driving up ticket prices at the same time. Yet the number of people in Africa who die of starvation has hardly diminished.

The buzz word “change” has been thrown around in politics. But where is the change in Africa? Young people are rallying behind organizations that aim to get clean drinking water or food for the African people, so why aren’t governments investing like their public?

The U.N. has the unique ability to affect the African continent. Corruption is preventing aid and assistance, and the world body has a justified reason to use its power. Many African leaders and regimes use aid for their own purposes. The U.N. must use ecomic sanctions and military force to further their efforts.

The goal is not to end hunger if there are no obstacles. Hunger must be ended. The U.N. has a chance to make all the difference in the future of poverty. The people want change.

The United Nations not only needs to salvage this program, but with it they can salvage their reputation, all in the process of denting the greatest tragedy occurring in the world today.

Author: Evan Duncan

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