Develop A Global Partnership for Development

Historically each country was responsible for its own trade, monetary policies, and advancements in technology, as well as research and development. Gradually the walls have broken down with North American free trade agreements and European countries adopting universal currencies. But there is still a large divide between what industrialized countries are able to do and what developing nations receive. Specifically, poorer nations have little or no access to things that are considered necessities in other countries.

One area that is of particular interest is the availability and distribution of drugs and medicine. There appears to be a double-edged sword at work here. Where pills for particular illnesses cost pennies in the rest of the world, they are still not available to reduce preventable deaths in developing countries. Then, there are the drugs that are expensive in North America, so they are cost-prohibitive in Africa for example. Either way, people outside the industrialized country or continent lose. In fact, most people do not benefit from medical advancements either in the way of pharmaceuticals or treatments.

Further, basic services such as hydro, telephone, and internet are non-existent. While richer countries use these services for entertainment purposes, poorer nations do not even have access for emergencies. Countries landlocked by other countries or by water have problems specific to them alone. Should a neighboring nation go to war, where does that leave the peaceful nation who borders it? And lastly, how do poorer nations compete in the global economy?

All of these issues are everyone's problem and the world, as a whole, must commit and contribute to improve the plight of the less fortunate. Consequently, for the eighth and final MDG, the following five targets were set.

Target 1: Address the special needs of least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states

Target 2: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system

Target 3: Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt

Target 4: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

Target 5: In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

Moreover, when struggling nations are provided debt relief, not only do the countries' governments benefit financially from the release of the burden, but in many instances, they are able to find ways to improve the circumstances of its citizens. For example, according to the UN, “Tanzania used resources saved through debt relief to abolish primary school fees (in 2002), build 30,000 new classrooms and 1,000 schools, and hire 18,000 additional trained teachers”. The ancillary benefits are measurable, as more children were permitted to attend school, a fact that in turn leads to children being trained, and as a result having the opportunity to emerge from poverty stricken lives.

And then there are other uses which are equally important. “Mozambique used its debt service savings to vaccinate one million children against tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria, to fight AIDS, and to build and electrify schools.” So while one might wonder the point of helping with debt, there are clearly deeply-rooted benefits as debt relief works to improving several of the Millennium Development Goals.

In addition to debt management, modern day electronics and communications are ways in which a global partnership will help reduce poverty. Speaking specifically of the distribution of cell phones in Bangladesh, the country has seen major advancements due to the unwaivering efforts of Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Best known for his implementation of microcredits through the Grameen Bank (which jointly won the Peace Prize), he states on his personal website that he was encouraged “to create a cell-phone company called Grameen Phone. They brought phones to the villages of Bangladesh and gave loans to the poor women to buy themselves cell-phones to sell their service and make money. It became an instant success”. Incredibly at the end of the year 2007, Grameen Phone boasted sixteen and half a million customers, over two hundred thousand of which were disadvantaged rural women who now make a living as operators due to the Village Phone Program.

Footnote: Targets obtained from United Nations website

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