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World Parliamentary Leaders Call for Actions to Achieve MDGs

Participants at the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments concluded their three-day meeting Friday with a call for a strong political will and concerted efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, president of the Cambodian National Assembly, urged all parliaments, governments, civil society and the private sector to "act collectively and energetically, to meet our MDGs."


He said that rich nations should honor their commitment, as called for in the MDGs, and seriously tackle the issues of debt cancellation and debt conversion for MDGs projects' financing program.


His views were echoed by Ural Mukhamejanov, president of lower chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament, who said the international community bears a great responsibility to eliminate poverty, racial and social discrimination, and to curb the spread of the drug problem.


"The development goals must be placed at the heart of this multifaceted effort," he added.


He also urged the developed countries and international organizations to pay their utmost attention to these issues, as they are of a global nature.


J. L. Nkomo, speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, noted that while UN member states agreed to the MDGs, some of the world's most powerful nations have not accepted the principle of international welfare. Rather, they apply the "deserving poor" notion to the reality of poverty outside their own countries.


He also called for attention to the fact that the current global security initiatives tended to be directed by developed countries.


"The UN involvement in peace initiatives is often compromised by some powerful countries as demonstrated by events in Iraq," he said.


He urged the Group of Eight and other powerful states to avoid unilateral action conducted outside the UN framework. "All nations, big or small, must respect and adhere to international cooperation agreements to which they are signatories."


For his part, Mohammedmian Soomro, chairman of the Pakistani Senate, stressed the need for national parliaments to forge close partnership to help prevent cultural stereotyping and religious defamation.


He noted that cultural stereotyping and defamation of religions can seriously undermine all efforts and initiatives aimed at promoting harmony and understanding among cultures and civilizations.


"National parliaments should develop closer partnerships to prevent pernicious attempts to link violent acts of isolated individuals with any specific religion, region or culture," he said, stressing this is critical for global peace and security.


"Our strategy must address the root causes of this problem, particularly political and economic injustices and regional asymmetries of weaponry," he added.


The three-day global gathering of top legislators from more than 150 countries and parliamentary groups ended Friday with the adoption of a declaration that calls for a more active role of parliaments in addressing global issues.


"Development must remain high on the agenda. We are determined to build the necessary political support for change and action," read the declaration.


"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," it said.


(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2005)


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