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World poverty talking shop

World leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York for a three-day summit (20-22 September) on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the main framework for development policy over the past decade, with the aim of eliminating poverty.

Ten years after their launch, and five years before the target date, many of these goals – especially those on child and maternal health – are not on track. The summit is seen as the last chance to put new impetus into the project. With the continuing financial and economic turbulence, and increasing pressure on limited resources such as energy supplies and specialised metals, this is going to be an uphill task. But it is in any case doomed to failure so long as no-one mentions the elephant in the room.