The deaths of children under the age of five have been declining steadily worldwide — down from 12.5 million in 1990 to under 9 million in 2008 – although progress is not fast enough yet to meet the relevant MDG.
A number of countries, including some of the poorest, have recorded impressive results in combating extreme poverty and hunger; and expanding access to clean water and HIV treatment.
There are long term impacts on individual and national potential when education and health budgets are slashed, jobs are lost, children are pulled out of school, and there is not enough food to put on the table for the family.
Those often are the consequences in developing countries which suffer a drop in revenues and remittances and have little fiscal space or access to credit lines.
Now, in 2010, I seem to be fulfilling an informal compact to speak to you in every Winter Olympics year, regardless of the position I hold.
On that basis you can count on me being back here in 2014, sometime around the Games in Sochi in Russia !
But if we took China’s figures out of the equation, the number of people living in extreme poverty is actually estimated to have increased between 19 by about 36 million.
On current trends several of the MDGs are likely to be missed in many countries, and some could miss them all.
It is always more effective to build a fence at the top of a cliff than it is to place an ambulance at the bottom.
War and conflict have lasting negative impacts on human development, destroying lives, livelihoods, communities, and infrastructure.