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World

Merkel urges more action on poverty ahead of UN Millennium summit

As more than 100 world leaders meet in New York for the UN Millennium Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Development Minister Dirk Niebel have urged members to step up the global fight against poverty.

Child reaching into bowl for food

One of the goals is to cut the number of children who die under five by two-thirds

Ahead of the UN summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel used her weekly video podcast to urge her fellow leaders to redouble efforts to tackle poverty and try to meet the targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Merkel said although it was "good news" that the number of hungry people in the world was down by hundreds of millions, it was not good enough.

"Nevertheless," said Merkel, "I feel this is going far too slowly – we have to be faster."

She added that countries giving aid should look at how the recipients wished to be helped. Merkel suggested "helping them to help themselves" rather than "the furthering of a so-called aid industry."

On Monday, world leaders are meeting in New York to attempt to get the Millennium Development Goals for tackling global poverty back on track.

The MDGs were drawn up by the United Nations 10 years ago and aimed to cut the number of people in extreme poverty by half by 2015. The plans to meet the goals are badly behind schedule.

Hitting the targets

Boy carrying water through Haitian slum

Experts are skeptical that the MDGs can be met and delivered

Germany will be represented at the summit by Chancellor Merkel and Development Minister Dirk Niebel.

Despite the MDGs being far behind schedule, Niebel was optimistic that some good could be achieved.

Speaking ahead of the UN summit, he said "the goals are achievable if all the development partners involved take their responsibilities seriously."

In her video comments Merkel added she hoped to have talks with several countries about "how we can do better to achieve our aims realistically."

She said while not all goals may be met by 2015, "we can get lots done in the next five years."

The European Union is expected to announce one billion dollars of MDG funds, however still more than 120 billion dollars needs to be found.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (AP/AFP/dpa)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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