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MDG Fund, Boosted by Spain, Benefits Nine Million People Worldwide, Says UNDP

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 26 2013 (IPS) - At a U.N. ceremony  Wednesday, the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) presented the results of its work, which it claims has directly benefitted nine million people around the world. Created from a US$ 900 million donation from Spain in 2007, the MDG-F administers development programmes in over 50 countries through the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) and its worldwide network of agencies.

The ceremony highlighted the achievements of the MDG-F and showed what the donation from Spain, the largest by a single donor in the history of the U.N., has helped achieve across areas like gender equality, climate change and culture & development. Here is an in-depth IPS story on how the Fund helps boost food security in countries like Brazil, Peru, Vietnam and Ethiopia.

Some of the results presented at the event that was organised on the sidelines of the General Assembly was the improvement of nutrition among 1.67 million children and 800,000 mothers, job training for 190,00 youth and the active participation of 400,000 youth in peacebuilding and conflict-prevention activities.

These results have been obtained through about 130 programmes administered worldwide. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was at the ceremony and received thanks from some of the beneficiary countries as well as administrators of the UNDP.

While the Spanish economy has suffered a serious setback in recent years, Rajoy pointed out why the MDG-F was important and said, “We cannot afford distractions. Those who depend on us cannot afford them. What is at stake is the global welfare. We cannot consider development aid as an act of charity — it is a joint investment in a common future.”

A majority of the developing countries will fail to achieve the Millenium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline and there are many lessons to be learnt from the outcomes of the MDG-F programmes. “The MDG-F has been key in using an integrated response in the countries where we work,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, “The knowledge derived from these programmes is a very important contribution to the work of accelerating the progress of the Millennium Development Goals.”

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, who was also present at the ceremony, said:

“Policies anchored in culture and development are more sustainable. The MDG Fund has shown the potential of culture to accelerate development.”

In Cambodia, for instance, 800 Khmer artisans were trained in skills like marketing and quality control, while in Ecuador, inclusion programmes were introduced to support minority groups discriminated because of their culture or ethnicity.

To reinforce the importance of supporting cultural development amidst other more obviously urgent issues such as hunger, a music video featuring artists from several countries around the world was aired to conclude the ceremony.

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