Post-Colonial Moment: 60th session of the UN General Assembly

Over 170 heads of state met today to open up the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. But delegates are going into the meeting to hear some discouraging news. Five years after world leaders adopted the ambitious set of antipoverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals, many of the goals have not made much progress.
The vast majority of poor countries are well off track, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, where most nations are projected to meet few if any targets.

The new U.N. Human Development Report, published last week, ranked 177 countries based on quality of life. Twenty-four African nations were at the bottom. The child mortality rate in Africa is 29 percent higher than it is in rich countries, and the share of people living on less than $1 a day is 11.5 percent higher than it was in 1981, the report said.

But it cited some successes in Africa, including gains in universal primary education and greater public investment in health and education. A handful of countries are seeing rapid economic growth.

The US delegation is also going into the summit to make some major explanations for not taking the lead on the goals. John Bolton initially wanted to back off any reference to specific goals for reducing poverty, hunger and combating AIDS.

The United States subsequently relented, but not before the administration's opening foray in the negotiations left some African leaders dismayed.

"The thing that shocked me personally was that they're trying to shift and change goal posts," said Kenyan health Charity Kaluki Ngilu to the New York Times. "If this is the case, we African leaders might as well go home and find other methods of developing ourselves."


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