$16 bn raised for poor at UN aid summit

September 26th, 2008 - 9:49 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 26 (DPA) World business and political leaders promised $16 billion in new programmes to help slash poverty, combat disease and boost education in the world’s poorest nations at a UN conference here.The pledges Thursday included more than $3 billion to eradicate malaria, $2 billion to tackle an ongoing food crisis and $4.5 billion for educational programmes, according to the UN’s initial estimate.

“That expression of global commitment will be all the more remarkable because it comes against the backdrop of a global financial crisis,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban said the offers “exceeded our most optimistic expectations” and were a sign of “global partnership in action”. Just four days ago, in opening the UN’s annual leaders’ summit in New York, Ban decried a lack of “global leadership” at a time of huge crises.

The offers came from countries, charitable foundations and businesses as part of a one-day conference pushing the Millennium Development Goals, a series of ambitious UN targets on improving the plight of the world’s poorest by 2015.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has spearheaded efforts to boost global aid, called it “the broadest coalition ever assembled” to combat poverty.

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