The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
~ Robbie Burns
(If Burns was writing this morning, he might also substitute paid for laid … although I’m sure well-laid fits in this rant, too …)
I’m choosing to start the week off with a bit of Scottish verse, then quickly moving along to giving the United Nations a big hand … upside the head, and a foot up the ass to see if that does anything to knock the organization out of its PR-spinning, wonky orbit.
I will say one good thing about the Untied Nations … they are good at graphs, as proved by a report in today’s news.
This one, for example:
There are loads of similar graphs, all indicating … well, gee … that the UN’s “Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” adopted 10 years ago were a waste of time and a ton of money.
So, just guess what the plan is now.
They’re going to meet up in Manhattan next week to “redouble efforts to meet them by 2015”.
“The path that will be set at the summit will determine the direction and results, success or failure, of the entire MDG venture,” says Olav Kjorven, a senior official in the UN’s main development agency, the UNDP.
Yeah … pull the other one.
The truth is that poverty has fallen, but progress has been uneven, and most of the goals are off-target to meet the deadline.
One of them – halving world poverty – is likely to be met, largely because of robust economic growth in China and India.
But less has been achieved on others, such as decreasing hunger, improving access to health and education, and helping mothers and children.
According to their own figures, not only have rates of infant mortality, availability of clean drinking water and reduction of early deaths from nasties like AIDS and malaria not improved since these masses of the well-dressed, well-fed and well paid sat over champers and sturgeon roe a decade ago and dusted crumbs from each others’ lovely lapels, in many cases it has gone worse.
World hunger is on the rise since the adoption of the UN goals, with nearly a billion people suffering.
And the number of women who die in childbirth every year is still in the hundreds of thousands, falling far short of the UN goal to cut maternal deaths by three quarters.
Since the UN can hardly take credit for jumps in the econ strength of China, India and former Soviet countries, it seems more than a tad disingenuous to claim MDGs made much difference, and blaming donor nations’ shortfalls does little to alleviate the notion that these very expensive summits are any more than chichi circle jerks.
This one hasn’t even started, yet already the Kool-Aid is being passed around to the international media:
The summit is expected to declare that achieving the Millennium Development Goals is do-able by 2015, with the right combination of money, policies and, above all, political will.
Drink up, me hearties, yo ho! (Yesterday was Internatonal Talk Like a Pirate Day, sponsored by an organization that probably accomplishes more in one year than the UN does in a decade to improve the lives of a few sad gits, so I’ll give them a plug.)
Want to see some flash PR work? Check out the MDG website and catch a clue as to where some of the money and effort goes. To see where it doesn’t, just look at the world.