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Top Parliamentarians Call for Support for Development Goals

The Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments ended Friday with calls for political support for action to ensure the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) be met by 2015 as scheduled.


"Development must remain high on the agenda. We are determined to build the necessary political support for change and action," said a declaration adopted at the end of the three-day conference.


"States must live up to the commitments they have already made to provide development assistance, in line with the Monterrey Consensus and the Millennium Declaration," the declaration read.


"We welcome the discussion on new and innovative forms of financing for development, which we hope will provide much needed additional resources."


The calls by speakers from more than 150 nations came as negotiations at the UN remained deadlocked over a draft outcome document for next week's world summit. One of the major divisive issues is development.


The US has retracted its earlier opposition to the concept of the MDGs, but still refuses to accept the target of increasing the official development assistance to 0.7 percent of its gross national product by 2015.


The MDGs, endorsed by world leaders in the 2000 UN summit, include a series of concrete objectives on poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, primary education, maternal health and sanitation.


The declaration urged the world community to work in concert in tackling the daunting challenges that face it, including poverty, terrorism and non-proliferation.


"We believe that the world has reached a fork in the road, and that the global community must not miss this opportunity to take drastic action," it stated. "While perceptions of the gravest threats may differ, they will be tackled effectively only if they are addressed concurrently and within the UN system."


The declaration also called for strengthening the relations between the UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), comprised of parliaments of all nations.


"We welcome the United Nations' decision to grant observer status to the IPU. This is a first step that opens channels for the organization to convey the views of the parliamentary community to the UN," it said.


"The time has come for a strategic partnership between the two institutions," it added.


After the adoption of the declaration, IPU President Sergio Paez said, "We have come to the end of the conference with optimism and with the political will to implement the content of this declaration at local and global levels."


He vowed that the IPU will continue to strengthen the relationships with the UN system. "We will channel our reaction and support reform of this organization, and we will continue to work in deepening democracy from a multilateral perspective."


(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2005)


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