The Near Bank of the Bridge: Wrap up from New York

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TEHRAN. With the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ah...
Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

So what came out of the United Nations High-Level Summit to discuss the Millennium Development Goals late last month?

The irony of spending a lot of money for people to gather together and talk about poverty is something I am still thinking about…

The drama and grandiose of visiting the United Nations in New York must be appealing. Certainly this was reflected in Meredith Burgmann’s comments in an Op-Ed published in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Meredith Burgmann, a former NSW ALP MP, is president of the Australian Council for International Development, and was part of the Australian delegation to the UN Conference on the Millennium Development Goals.

Disappointing progress in many areas.
Many failed promises blamed on the global financial crisis.
The meeting was overshadowed by Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, alleging the September 11 attacks were an American conspiracy in a separate meeting a few days after the Conference.

The New York Conference marks the beginning of a bridge I am defining for the 10 City Bridge Run.
It is the near bank.
Where we cross first.

The far bank defining the other side of the bridge is the G20 Summit.
Another important meeting of institutional and national leaders.
The G20 describes itself as the premier forum for international economic cooperation: “Our goal is to strengthen the global financial system and build a global economy rooted in sustainable growth and prosperity for all”.

The span, the bit in between, is all of us. All of us. Our global village.
I contend that what happens between us is as important as what happens at the two institutional meetings.
That is what the 1o City Bridge Run is about.
It is all about you, and me, and everyone else. We are responsible.

Meredith made an interesting comment about the MDG 3 which I am focusing on today:

One of my particular passions – the third goal, which promises to promote gender equality and empower women – is hardly mentioned. Maternal deaths seem to be important but not the empowerment of women. Tucked away in a side report was the astonishing information that of the nine countries that still have no women in parliament, six were in the Pacific. The percentage of women in Pacific parliaments is 2.9 per cent and even the next worst, the Middle East, has 12 per cent. It is a total disgrace and unless Australia begins to use its influence with the male leaderships of these countries, nothing will change.

Meredith wove the importance of how there is interplay between the MDG:

Rudd is particularly concerned with goals four and five, which deal with maternal health and child mortality. Improvement in maternal death rates has slowed dramatically. More than 500,000 women die each year of pregnancy-related causes. Australia announces that it is part of a newly launched public/private global alliance with the US, Britain, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to meet goals four and five and pledges $1.6 billion to this alliance. Rudd also promises to allocate $5 billion to education, $1.8 billion to food security and $1.2 billion for action on climate change over the next five years.

Check her article out here.
It is interesting that the embedded video is about Australian domestic political point-scoring. Is that a tacit commentary in itself on the importance and impact this conference had on a broader level back home in Australia? Interesting to note that many of my friends still have no idea of what an ‘MDG’ actually is. I think we will all know in 2015, although will this be for the right reasons?

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4 thoughts on “The Near Bank of the Bridge: Wrap up from New York

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