(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Doha • The follow-up meeting on financing development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals , (MDGs) organised by the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the UN General Assembly started here yesterday.
Addressing the opening session the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs H E Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud reiterated Qatar's commitment, under the leadership of the Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to become a constant supporting partner to developmental efforts being made, especially in fighting poverty and fairl distribution of international economic growth.
This, he noted, would have a positive effect on international security and peace. He noted that the support the government and people of Qatar were giving to developing countries' efforts to achieve sustainable development, and Qatar's spontaneous response relief calls were out of its values and culture, which call for helping the needy and supporting the reconstruction and cooperation quest to achieve sustainable social and economic development in developing countries.
He noted that within this context the State of Qatar hosted the World Trade Organization's 4th conference in Doha in 2001, which produced Doha Round that calls for having a more fair international trade rules.
Doha also hosted the second south summit at which the Emir announced his initiative on establishing the South Fund for Development, he said, noting that at the world summit held in 2005 the Emir announced his donation of 10m for the Democracy Fund.
Ahmed bin Abdullah said that the Emir offered his initiative to host the first follow-up meeting for the International Conference on Financing Development, which the UN General Assembly decided to convene in Doha during the second half of 2008.
The meeting would assess the progress made in attaining the millennium development objectives, identify what actions to be taken to move forward and define what partnerships are needed in this respect, the Minister said. Although half the period set for halving poverty by 2015 has already elapsed, it is regrettable to see that African sub-Saharan states are still far behind the schedule, the Minister said. Although the number of people living under the line of less than one dollar per day has been substantively reduced to some 41.1 per cent of the population, a lot more needed to be done to double or even triple these reductions to meet the set objectives by 2015, he added.
Some 30 per cent of the children are still having no access to education, mortality rate among children under the age of 5 is still high, the number of deaths caused by Aids is still rising with some two million of reported last year, only 42 per cent of city dwellers have access to clean drinking water, and 63 per cent of the sub-Saharan population live without proper sanitation infrastructure, the Minister said, citing UN figures.