Leaders 'scarcely trying' to tackle Third World issues

World leaders are making woeful progress in their 15-year mission to tackle poverty, hunger, disease, war and terrorism, according to a damning report released last night.

Attempts to drive up standards of education, protect the environment and ensure basic human rights around the globe have also fallen flat, it says.

At the United Nations Millennium summit in September 2000, heads of government agreed a detailed plan to tackle the problems that have paralysed much of the Third World. But in a damning critique last night, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a Geneva-based foundation, said governments were too often "scarcely trying" to match their words with action.

Forty experts rated the world's progress towards its goal by issuing a report card showing a score out of 10 in seven categories ranging from poverty to human rights. They handed out a score of three or four in each area, indicating that the world was making barely a third of the effort needed to hit the UN's "modest" targets.

Among its grimmest discoveries is that the proportion of hungry people is likely to increase in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia by 2015. A "devastating" 800 million people go regularly without food around the world, including a third of pre-school age children in developing nations, the WEF said. More than half the world's countries will fail to provide universal primary education by 2015, following a shortfall in the financial donations required to hit the target.

The HIV/Aids epidemic is "outstripping the bubonic plague of medieval Europe as the most deadly pandemic in history". The first report by the WEF's Global Governance Initiative also warned that there was little evidence that the world was making a "serious effort" to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

It did, however, point to more optimistic signs including China's success in dealing with poverty and sharp increases in cash spent on tackling malaria.

On security, no new civil wars broke out and there has been a fall in the numbers of continuing conflicts between and within states, the report said.

The number of terrorist incidents has been tending downward over the past 10 years even though the number of victims rose sharply because of the 11 September attacks on the US. But those remaining security problems are particularly threatening, in particular the growth of international terrorist networks and the risk of nuclear proliferation. Many experts are concerned about the threat to civil liberties posed by governments cracking down on terrorism, the WEF's report said.

Richard Samans, the head of the WEF's Global Institute for Partnership and Governance, said: "Although the 'headline' findings are disappointing, it does at least point the way to how improvements can be made." Mary Robinson, the former president of the Irish Republic and now executive director of theWEF's Ethical Globalization Initiative, said "internationally agreed targets must be considered simultaneously" in order to "achieve human dignity for all."

THE CONCLUSIONS

Peace & Security

Goal: End war, eliminate weapons of mass destruction, act against terrorism.

Progress: War in Iraq; hostilities in Afghanistan, Ethiopia-Eritrea, India-Pakistan, Israel-Palestine; efforts against terrorism "not very successful".

Score: 3/10

Poverty

Goal: Halve number of people whose daily income is less than $1 between 1990 and 2015.

Progress: "Spectacular" success in China, but number in "desperate poverty" increasing in much of Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

Score: 4/10

Hunger

Goal: Halve number of people suffering hunger by 2015.

Progress: 800 million people don't have enough to eat. Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will not hit target.

Score: 3/10

Education

Goal: Ensure all children receive primary schooling; eliminate disparity between boys' and girls' access to education.

Progress: At least 96 countries not on course to hit primary target.

Score: 3/10

Health

Goal: Reverse spread of HIV/AIDS and malaria; reduce by two-thirds under-five mortality rate and deaths in child-birth by three-quarters.

Progress: Predicted 45 million new HIV/AIDS infections by 2010.

Score: 4/10

Environment

Goal: Halve numbers with access to clean water and sanitation; stabilise greenhouse gas emissions.

Progress: Global warming continues; Kyoto protocol has not been ratified.

Score: 3/10

Human Rights

Goal: End torture; promote law and order and freedom of information.

Progress: Feared erosion of civil liberties since war on terrorism launched; severe abuse of workers' rights "common.

Score: 3/10

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?