A senior UN official on population Monday urged countries to increase social investment and redouble efforts for an international population agenda so as to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) despite the spreading financial meltdown.
As the financial crisis unwinds, it threatens to push 200 million people back into poverty, and reverse efforts aimed at improving social welfare and achieving the MDGs, said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at a UN meeting on population and development opened in the UN headquarters Monday.
"The financial crisis is now threatening to wipe out this hard-won progress in improving health and reducing poverty. Relatively small reductions in financing could lead to a loss in momentum that could take decades to repair," Obaid said.
He called on countries to put people first and places the long-term well-being of the majority of the people over the short-term interests of a few.
"Now it is the time to increase social investment and redouble efforts for the ICPD (International Conference of Population and Development) agenda by investing in the most vulnerable groups of this financial crisis -- women, youth and migrants," Obaid said.
The week-long meeting, an annually session of the UNFPA, focused this year on the contribution of the Program of Action of ICPD, a consensus reached in Cairo conference in 1994, to the internationally agreed development goals, including MDGs.
Established in 1946, the UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.
A subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly, it receives overall policy guidance from the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).