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PM Calls for More Focus on Challenges Faced by Middle Income Countries

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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has called for more attention to be paid to the unique challenges being faced by middle-income developing countries and small island developing states such as Jamaica.

She pointed out that middle income countries are home to the majority of the world’s poor and there is need to accelerate the development of these nations.

“I urge leaders, at all levels, to make it a priority to quickly establish a clear roadmap for agreeing on a sustainable development framework beyond the 2015 target date, as well as the action plan to support it,” she stated.

She was addressing today’s (Nov. 26) opening plenary of the European Development Days forum in Brussels, Belgium on the topic: ‘A vision for the post-2015 agenda’.

Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that when world leaders adopted the landmark United Nations Millennium Declaration 13 years ago, in which nation states agreed to eight development goals to be achieved by 2015, called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the deadline seemed a far way off.

She pointed out however, that while remarkable achievements have been made in achieving some targets of the MDGs, the progress has been uneven.

“Much more needs to be done to close the gap between the haves and the have nots to reduce and eradicate inequity, inequality and exclusion in our world,” she said.

The Prime Minister insisted that the vision for the post-2015 agenda must envisage a development framework that is relevant, far reaching and beneficial “for those for whom development and equitable growth have so far proven elusive.”

Such an agenda, she said, must be transformative, action-oriented and needs to send a clear message of hope to the millions, who have been waiting expectantly for a difference to be made in their lives.

She noted also, that post 2015 must address emerging global realities and challenges such as the trafficking of persons.

“We should not allow slavery to return anywhere in the world through the back door,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.

In the meantime, President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, stated that the eradication of poverty is an imperative.  He said in the same way that major challenges such as slavery and colonialism have been eliminated, poverty too can become a thing of the past.

President Barroso said there is that possibility “if we put together enough political will at the international level…” He noted that the situation demands not just resources but political courage.

Also addressing the forum were: President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou; Prime Minister of Cape Verde, José Maria Pereira Neves; as well as Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Diamini-Zuma.

The European Development Days is the EU’s largest forum for dialogue and exchange on international development issues with participation from over 100 countries, and runs over the course of two days.

By Andrea Braham

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