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Kenya spearheads global anti-poverty blueprint

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Kenya's ambassador to the UN Macharia Kamau shepherded negotiations along with Irish Ambassador David Donoghue for the bold global new anti-poverty agenda/AFP

Kenya’s ambassador to the UN Macharia Kamau shepherded negotiations along with Irish Ambassador David Donoghue for the bold global new anti-poverty agenda/AFP

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – Kenya played a key role in bringing a successful conclusion to a United Nations draft plan for the sustainable development goals at the weekend which world leaders are set to endorse at a summit in New York from September 25 to 27.

Kenya’s ambassador to the UN Macharia Kamau shepherded negotiations along with Irish Ambassador David Donoghue for the bold global new anti-poverty agenda.

The 17 goals and 169 targets to end poverty, ensure healthy lives, promote education and combat climate change are even more sweeping than the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire at the end of this year.

Kamau acknowledged that the funding required to achieve the goals was “astronomical” as trillions of dollars would need to be spent by member states and international organisations for each country to reach its goals.

“But let’s understand what it is that we are trying to do here. We are engaged in an agenda that seeks to address economic, social and environmental transformation,” Kamau told a news conference at UN headquarters.

The United Nations is hoping that businesses will step up along with national governments to redirect their development aid toward achieving the new global goals.

“There is no reason that we cannot see remarkable transformation in the next 15 years,” said Kamau.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the new agenda as “a to-do list for people and the planet”, but warned that implementing it would be a challenge.

“We are resolved to free the human race within this generation from the tyranny of poverty,” Ban said in a statement.

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The goals are non-binding, but Donoghue said failing to meet them would create “a degree of political embarrassment or discomfort” for governments who flout such agreed objectives as gender equality.

– Too ambitious? –

Launched in 2012, the negotiations on the new agenda were to build on the success of the MDGs which have helped reduce poverty rates while setting education and health targets, in particular for infant mortality.

But the new goals have come under criticism for being ill-defined in some instances and far too broad in scope, undermining prospects for achieving measurable success.

Bill and Melinda Gates, who head a mega-billion-dollar foundation, have complained that the new goals stray too far away from the UN’s previous focus on health and education.

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