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13 / 05 / 2004
«Governments must commit themselves to achieve the development goals approved in the United Nations», according to UN official Eveline Herfkens

The fourth of the Forum’s 141 Questions was “What Must the World do in Order to Achieve the Millennium Goals?”. Eveline Herfkens, executive co-ordinator of the UN Campaign for the Millennium Development Goals believes that citizens can make their governments honor their promises.

Eveline Herfkens has reminded that “the United Nations entirely depends on the member countries for its budget, which is smaller than the budget of the Barcelona Council”. The goals set in the agreement of September 8, 2000 in the UN Millennium Declaration will only be achieved if governments honor their commitments by implementing the necessary policies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015.

The goals are to erradicate poverty and hunger; to achieve primary education for all; to promote gender equality; to reduce infant mortality; to improve health conditions for mothers; to combat HIV/AIDS and other devastating diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability; to agree on a global pact for development.

According to the UN executive coordinator, a pact on development “is the definitve way by which developed countries can enable development in less developed countries”. However, the goal is still far from completed. Eveline Herfkens believes that citizen’s pressure on their governments in order for them to fulfil their promises is decisive. “Millions of people live on less than one dollar a day. People want to see poverty eradicated. Their votes can be important in order to make their governments implement the right policies”.

The Haima Stage at the Forum Site is the perfect space to hold an open debate during the Universal Forum of Cultures, and it has been used to facilitate the dialogue between the public and Eveline Herfkens on issues like the arms industry, the grants received by corrupt governments, AIDS and pharmaceutical companies, and the “real” power of UN bodies, among others. The executive coordinator took careful note of all opinions and questions, as she believes “citizens’ mobilization is essential to achieve a fairer world”.