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Calmy-Rey urges action on millennium goals

Respect for human rights and sustainable development are essential if the planet is to be rid of poverty and hunger, says Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.

This content was published on September 20, 2010 - 20:56
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Speaking during the opening day of the United Nations Millennium Summit on Monday, the minister said optimism has waned in what the world can achieve because leaders have not been able to meet goals they set in 2000 to bring more wealth and food to the planet’s needy.

“We have not achieved what we wanted to achieve,” she said. “Progress toward the reduction of the number of poor people worldwide, access to basic education and clean water, and the equality of the sexes is not sufficient.”

Wealthy nations must now ask themselves whether their programmes have been misguided, the minister continued. “Is the international production and trade system still set up in such a way that it leads to the disadvantage of poor countries?”

Calmy-Rey added that the need to switch to an environmentally friendlier way of doing business was more urgent than ever, saying that inaction could lead to conflicts over water, useable land and immigration.

Former Swiss minister Joseph Deiss, now president of the 65th UN General Assembly, opened the three-day summit by saying he was confident that leaders could still end poverty and hunger.

“We have the know-how and the resources that we need and we can do it,” he said, urging leaders to discuss “calmly and constructively” with each other ways to find solutions.

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