The United Nations will hold a general assembly Wednesday, September 14, to assess the progress made during the five years since the establishment of the Goals of the Millennium, a set of commitments endorsed by leaders of 191 UN member states at the Millennium Summit, held in New York, in September 2000.
To raise societal awareness of these issues, 75 countries promoted demonstrations on Saturday, September 10. In Brazil five thousand white bracelets bearing the words “Global Call Against Poverty” were distributed during a march on Ipanema Beach, in Rio de Janeiro.
“We hope that this will get the attention of the leaders who will be meeting at the United Nations and put pressure on our representatives who will be attending the assembly. We want to make it clear that the war on poverty concerns not only Brazilian society but the world, and we want to make governments keep their promises.”
This comment was made by Fernanda de Carvalho, a social scientist who is one of the coordinators of the international movement, Global Call to Action Against Poverty, founded at this year’s World Social Forum, held in January in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, with the participation of 155 thousand people from 151 countries.
In her view, Brazil has already increased the availability of education and health services to the poorer segments of the population, but much remains to be done. “In education and health, despite the improved coverage, there still exists a very serious problem of quality,” she said.
Carvalho also explained that there is great inequality between men and women in terms of remuneration and there have been few advances in the control of infant mortality.
“With regard to the eradication of poverty and inequalities, if Brazil continues to advance at same pace as it has been since the year 2000, we will most assuredly not eradicate poverty in this century,” the social scientist affirmed.
According to Carvalho, the problem is not exclusively a Brazilian one. In 2000, leaders from various countries met in New York and established the eight Goals of the Millennium, but now, five years later, little has been accomplished in the poorest countries, such as those of Latin America and Africa.
The eight goals, which are meant to be achieved by 2015, include: the elimination of hunger and extreme poverty; quality basic education for all; gender equality and protection of women’s rights; reduction of infant mortality; improved health care for pregnant women; actions to combat AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and a global partnership for development.
Minister Jaques Wagner, head of Brazil’s Secretariat of Institutional Relations, and the president of the France Libertés Foundation, Danielle Mitterrand, will sign an agreement making it possible to jointly evaluate governmental social policies, as well as measure progress in achieving the Millennium Goals. The agreement is an addendum to the already existing Brazil-France cooperation treaty.