The UN must end conflicts for MDGs to be achieved

Saturday March 7 2015

In 2000, member countries in the United Nations formulated and set the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with optimism that by 2015, world poverty would have been reduced to half.

Establishing common goals with rich countries gave the poor ones hope of escaping the dark dungeon of backwardness by attracting foreign expertise, trade and investments.

These goals include eradicating extreme hunger and poverty; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development.

But the January 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland revealed that 1 per cent of the world’s population possesses 50 per cent of its wealth.

West Africa was rocked by Ebola (dubbed the poor man’s disease) for many months before the World Health Organisation mobilised interventions. The disease spread quickly due to poor infrastructure resulting from wars and paralysed socio-economic activities, transport links and trade.

In various locations throughout the globe, people who were once productive continue to die or live in camps in very dehumanising conditions for reasons within human means to avoid or solve.

The major reason for increased income inequality, poverty, hunger and disease is the escalation of wars and conflicts, which disable human activities and divert funds that world be invested. Northern Uganda remained isolated due to insurgency and schoolgoing children were either abducted or lived in camps instead of getting formal education.

After terrorists destroyed the WTO towers in 2001, the US declared war on terror and fought prolonged wars with Afghan Taliban in pursuit of the Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden and the Iraq war which ousted Saddam Hussein.

America, which has the world’s largest economy and spearheads several global development projects, spent or borrowed billions for funding wars, which pundits believe orchestrated the worldwide economic melt-down.

Democrat Barack Obama won the presidential election by deriding Republican George W Bush’s spending that led to the crisis. Despite the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and measures for frugality, the US economy still suffers slow growth, debt and unemployment.

And now, a new terror group, ISIS, is wreaking unprecedented havoc to create an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. The group perpetrates the worst form of cruelty against hostages, among whom are moderate Muslims, Kurds, Yazidis, Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis and other foreign nationals.

In Africa, Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, terrorises Kenya and the Horn of Africa region while Boko Haram torments Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad through suicide bombings and military incursions.

There are devastating wars in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Ukraine and Sudan.

Nations discuss global partnerships but still have ulterior motives, thus increasing provocative military presence along national boundaries. To quote Pope Francis, World War III is being fought in piecemeal!

The UN must find concrete solutions to these conflicts for MDGs to be achieved. It must bolster key-player nations that facilitate peace and reconciliation.

Charles Okecha,
St. Paul’s College, Mbale.

ICGLR welcomes Kinshasa’s offensive against rebels

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) welcomes the offensive by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The ICGLR Heads of State have supported the option of military action against FDLR, in the event of non-compliance with the six-month ultimatum they set the until January 2, 2015.

To date, no significant progress has been recorded regarding the voluntary disarmament and surrender of the Rwandan rebels, hence military action.

ICGLR,
Bujumbura.

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