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The Diplomatic Dispatch

The British Ambassador to Sweden blogs on The Local

The development of development

The British government, like Sweden, is a strong supporter of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Our Prime Minister is honoured to be co-chairing the UN High Level Panel on the future of international development, which will make recommendations later this year on what the new international agenda should be after 2015, when the MDGs are due to have been met.

There has been impressive progress against the MDGs:

• Halving poverty (one of the key targets) has already been reached

• Nearly half a billion people escaped poverty, as defined by living on less than $1.25-a-day, in just 5 years

• In the 20 years to 2010:

– 2 billion people gained access to improved drinking water
– There were 5 million fewer deaths of children under 5 every year
– Maternal deaths fell 33%

• Malaria deaths decreased by 26% between 2000 and 2010

• 400,000 fewer people are dying from AIDS despite more living with HIV

But challenges remain:

• 1.3 billion continue to have to live on less than $1.25 a day

• 2.4 billion live on less than $2 per day

• Around 270,000 women die in pregnancy/childbirth each year

• Almost 7 million children under 5 die each year

• There are 655,000 Malaria deaths each year– 90% of them taking the lives of young children in Africa

• 34 million people live with HIV

So continuing to tackle poverty, its causes such as conflict and its consequences such as disease, remains a fundamental international interest.

In the UK’s view, the key to this is helping create the stepping stones that people need to escape from poverty – tackling conflict, building effective institutions, encouraging effective and fair rule of law, transparency and accountability in public and private sectors and creating an environment where growth, through trade and investment, flourish.

We’re using our Presidency of the G8 as well as the Prime Minister’s role on the High Level Panel to work for these outcomes.

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