Norwegian prince believes UN development goals can be reached
On March 11 Crown Prince Haakon opened the 14th annual NHH Symposium at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen. In his speech he said he believes the United Nations Millennium Development Goals can be achieved, but he warned of the huge gaps between rich and poor.
Some 20 per cent of the world’s population have 74 per cent of the world’s wealth while 20 per cent of the poorest have to make do with just 2 per cent, according to figures quoted by the prince.
“This does not bode well for stability and peace in the world,” the prince, a goodwill ambassador for the UN Development Programme, said in remarks quoted by Norwegian media.
Among the development goals to be achieved by 2015 was that of reducing child mortality by 70 per cent.
The prince reminded his audience that in 1831 Norway had a child mortality rate on par with that of Burundi or Mozambique today.
Although the words in the millennium development goals may appear to be grand or unrealistic “on the ground they are concrete and useful,” the prince said. He said that several nations in Africa were posting higher growth than Norway did in the 19th century explaining why there was hope the development goals could be achieved.
The impact of the global financial crisis was yet to be seen, he said adding that climate change remained another big challenge. The millennium development goals include slashing poverty and hunger, increasing access to universal education and combating HIV/AIDS.