1 September 2010Countries can make headway on slashing hunger, poverty and a host of other socio-economic ills over the next five years, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today, stressing three essential elements for progress. Countries can make headway on slashing hunger, poverty and a host of other socio-economic ills over the next five years, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today, stressing three essential elements for progress.“With sufficient and predictable resources for development, the appropriate policies, and strong leadership and capacity, we do believe that the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals can be met,” Helen Clark stated, referring to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.“There is not only a moral imperative to strive to meet them. It is also an important part of our quest to make our planet more just, secure, and peaceful. That is in the best interests of all of us,” the UNDP Administrator told a meeting of the agency’s Executive Board in New York. Later this month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene the high-level MDG Summit at UN Headquarters. The gathering is expected to result in concrete national action plans for realizing the Goals, which include targets for slashing poverty, boosting school enrolment rates, improving maternal health and increasing access to clean water and decent sanitation. “This is a not-to-be missed opportunity for Member States to agree on an action plan to drive progress towards reaching the Goals by 2015,” said Miss Clark.“At UNDP, we believe that there is a range of tried, tested, and proven policies which, adapted to national contexts, will ensure progress where there is the leadership, political will, capacity, and resources to implement them.“What is important now is for all development stakeholders to focus on what works, and support replication of proven interventions tailored to national circumstances. We also need to innovate and bring fresh ideas to the table,” she added.In June Miss Clark highlighted eight priority areas which should ideally form part of action plans for the next five years to accelerate progress towards the MDGs.They are: the need to support country-led development; foster inclusive economic growth; improve opportunities for women and girls; target investments in health and education, in clean water and sanitation, and in the professionals who run these services; and scale up social protection and employment programmes and other targeted interventions.Other priorities are expanding access to energy and promoting low-carbon development; mobilizing domestic resources to finance the MDGs; and the international community delivering on the official development assistance (ODA) commitments it has made and improving the predictability and effectiveness of aid.She pledged that UNDP will continue to “sharpen its tools” and work closely with a wide range of partners within and beyond the UN system to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and communities and to help countries meet their development goals.