Strong appeals were made on Friday that the U.N. Millennium Development Goals should be realized despite global economic setbacks.
"The global economic downturn cannot be an excuse for not meeting the goals," said Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to U.N. secretary-general on the Millennium Development Goals.
"Lack of financing has nothing to do with this recession," he said, "It has to do with neglect."
Sachs also said that what is lacking is just a fraction of a percent of most countries' GDP. "This is not heavy lifting for the world."
Speakers at the session with the title of "Meeting the Millennium Development Goals" at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum were concerned whether the goals could be reached before the 2015 deadline.
"Rich governments have to meet their obligations," said Helen E. Clark, administrator of the U.N. Development Program. "I am aware that the recession has been very painful in developed countries, but in developing countries, it may mean a child never goes back to school again."
The world has moved forward, but progress has been uneven across sectors and between countries, said William H. Gates III, co-chair at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
As for the ways of reducing poverty, Sachs said straightforward applications of existing knowledge is essential to getting whole regions out of poverty and on their way to prosperity.
As scheduled, the five-day meeting will be over on Sunday.