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U.N. Report Warns of Risk to Goal to Cut Poverty by 2015

I'm Barbara Klein with the VOA Special English Development Report.

The United Nations has released its two thousand five Human Development Report. The report shows that eighteen countries have moved down the list in terms of conditions for their people. Twelve are in central and southern Africa. The others are former Soviet republics.

But the U.N. report says many other nations have made progress. It says people in developing countries are generally healthier, wealthier and better educated than they were fifteen years ago. And they are also more likely to live in a democratic system.

The report says one hundred thirty million people escaped extreme poverty during the nineteen nineties. And more than one thousand million gained access to clean water. But the study says two and one-half thousand million people still live on less than two dollars a day. And around half as many still do not have safe water.

The U.N. Development Program has published the yearly report since nineteen ninety. This year’s came out last week. Later this week is the World Summit in New York. Leaders will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations. They also will discuss progress over the past five years toward the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals.

One goal is to cut the number of people living in extreme poverty by fifty percent by two thousand fifteen. Other goals are to reduce child deaths by two-thirds and to provide basic education for all children in the next ten years.

The new Human Development Report warns that the goals are at risk. It says that without more money for development, there will be millions of deaths that could have been prevented. And, it says, more than eight hundred million people will still be living in extreme poverty. The number is almost four hundred million higher than the target for two thousand fifteen.

The U.N. report says developing nations must seek investment and fight dishonesty. But it says economic growth alone will not help most countries reach the goal to reduce poverty. It says they must also fight social inequalities and respect human rights.

Finally, the report calls for major changes to international policies on aid, trade and security. It says the world has the resources to end poverty, but must also have the political will.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. Our reports are on the Internet at I'm Barbara Klein.