Associate Director and Distinguished Fellow, The Centre for International Governance Innovation
Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo
TRANSCRIPT: Millennium Development Goals, more commonly known as MDG’s. Really these are targets through the United Nation’s process that all countries should come to a basic level of meeting these millennium goals set out in 2000. The problem of course is that with the financial crisis and stresses at the national level we are having problems meeting those and certainly with the least developed countries in particular. So of course this has huge importance. These are not things that are esoteric these are real fundamental problems for counties. How do they deal with communicative diseases, how do they deal with child birth, how to they deal with things that are stretching out from the MDG’s on clean water and so on . These are fundamental issues. When you see a country like Haiti today you get a sense that these basic questions are really important.
Where should we go? I think we probably want some sort of suggestions. The summit, in some ways is a wonderful idea to bring at the declaratory level attention to that there has to be some sort of ratchining up of attention to meet those. We are at the halfway point in terms of deliverables. It makes us think about in times of financial stress how are we going to get the money to deliver the MDG’s. Here there is some creative thinking. Not to outsource everything to the private sector but there can be some areas of creative partnerships between governments. Certainly the governments that act and belong to the summit but also private sector and philanthropic activities that have attention on those issues. The basic statistic that I use is the financial clout of the Gates foundation versus the WHO and has the APEC foundational responsibilities for MDG’s and health issues. In 2004, the Gates foundation spent more on international health then the WHO. This shows in some ways the capacity and the resources of the private sector. When we are talking about innovate sources of finance and public private partnerships this is important. We see the Gates foundation meeting last week with the Secretary General of the United Nations exactly on those MDGs (4,5,6) basically dealing with health MDGs. This is important. It is not the only solution. States are crucial to this but it certainly is one area that we should pay more attention to and see if there can be that creative sort of partnership.