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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 30 July, 2014

For the first time in history, 9 out of 10 children in the world go to school

World leaders are meeting in New York to talk about how some of the Millennium Development Goals have been met – but others are lagging behind.

Image: Child writing in a notebook via Shutterstock

NINE OUT OF ten children in the world now go to school for the first time in history, according to the United Nations.

World leaders are meeting in New York today to talk about the fight against extreme poverty, thirteen years into one of the UN’s most ambitious plans known as the Millennium Development Goals.

The blueprint sets out a series of 8 targets – each with specific targets and deadlines – in a bid to tackle some of the most preventable problems across the world.

At the meeting today, the UN will hear that some of the  goals are on target to be met – particularly in the areas of food, water and education – while others are lagging behind.

The UN says there is now parity in enrolment levels between boys and girls, two years ahead of its 2015 deadline. Almost 90 per cent of people now have access to safe drinking water, while some 200 million people living in urban slums now have better living conditions.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said that while some of the achievements are impressive, “much more needs to be done”.

The umbrella group of Ireland’s development NGOs Dóchas said the UN report shows that aid “very definitely works”.

“At the same time, it also shows that the progress on [the final goal - creating a global partnership for development], which is the responsibility of the West, is falling short,” said Hans Zomer, the director of Dóchas.

“The Millennium Development Goals are a partnership, a contract. We cannot expect the goals to be reached if not all parties are sticking to the agreement.”

Column: 3 billion people continue to live in poverty as the G8 summit takes place >

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