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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Dog Ate the United Nations’ Homework

This Wednesday, the United Nations published its 2010 Millennium Development Goals Report. On the whole, their assessment is written in a positive tone, and they are calculated when they broach the issue of whether or not their goal of halving global poverty by 2015 is actually - you know - achievable.

Apparently, while there is ‘progress’, every adverse development on the planet (e.g. wars, food crises, recession) makes the Millennium Development goals ‘more difficult to achieve’. Which is sort of like saying, ‘I would have had my homework done but my dog ate it’ - except in this case, the dog is a global economic meltdown.

Their best news hinges on the fact that the number of people in the world living on less than the $1.25 per day global poverty line has decreased from 46 percent in 1990 to 27 percent in 2005.

The question is whether or not the United Nations can really claim responsibility for this development.

If they can excuse their (and by extension, our) failure through complex global developments, can they not also explain their ‘success’ in a similar fashion? For example, doesn’t the rise of Asian economies make a slightly more convincing case for the downward trend of poverty?

HOPE International Development Agency measures its success and failure on a more modest scale than the United Nations. Where we work, there are no other organizations. There are only families, villages, and passionate individuals. They let us know whether things are getting better. They also know to whom they should attribute any progress in their lives. It’s just us, them, and - it goes without saying - you.

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