Official: Only 3 Latin American countries will meet Millennium Goals

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chile's UN Development Program resident coordinator Enrique Ganuza said only three Latin American countries will reach the UN Millennium Goals, an official from the country's foreign relations ministry (Minrel) told BNamericas.

Ganuza met with Chile's foreign relations minister Alejandro Foxley to discuss the goals, and expressed his satisfaction with the country's advances over the last years, adding that Chile is on target to meet the goals, the official said.

According to Ganuza, Mexico and Cuba are the two other Latin American countries that will meet the development plan established by the organization in 2000, the official added.

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Poverty has become a factor of great concern among regional authorities, as it continues to increase in countries such as Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Paraguay.

In spite of not being able to meet the goals, Brazil and Colombia have shown great progress in their efforts to reduce poverty, increase education and improve connectivity.

Latin American authorities are currently working together with multilateral financial entities to support the countries with the least chance of meeting the goals, the official said.

Some of the initiatives governments are boosting include infrastructure, basic services, health and education development, which all contribute to the long-term reduction and eventual eradication of poverty.

According to the UN, countries should increase public spending and implement efficient and effective programs to reduce poverty and inequality, which has become a major concern worldwide.

During the discussion, the promotion of private investment was also addressed, as development efforts should never be faced by the public sector alone, the official said, adding that Chile has played a major role in setting an example of the positive impact of implementing a strong public-private partnership framework.

A total of 190mn inhabitants live in poverty in Latin America, which represents about a third of the region's population.

According to UN projections, some 26mn Latin Americans will live on less than US$1 a day in 2015, when authorities are expected to meet the Millennium Goals.