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Words in the News
Wednesday 09 July 2003
World Development Report
Shopping mall in Beijing The United Nations Development Programme has published its annual World Development Report. It calls for much faster progress if the world is to reach its Millennium Development Goals. This report from Elizabeth Blunt:
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Do you remember the Millennium Goals? When world leaders celebrated the year 2000 with a solemn pledge to reduce poverty and hunger, check the spread of AIDS, get boys and girls into school, and improve health and sanitation, all by 2015? Well, three years down the road, and the UNDP's yearly collection of facts and figures already shows that if we carry on as we are, the only target likely to be met is that for halving poverty, and that is entirely due to the success of one country - China. It is so vast that growing prosperity in China lifts literally millions of people above the poverty line, even though in Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet Union people have actually been getting poorer.

Otherwise progress is patchy. East Asia should meet its target of halving hunger by 2015, and Latin America and the Caribbean are not far behind, but at present rates of progress Africa and South Asia won't get there for another hundred years. For Africa – right at the bottom of virtually every table - reducing infant mortality by two thirds and getting all its children into school look like an impossible dream until well into the twenty-second century.

The good news is that it can be done - that there are success stories. Ghana - an economic basket case in the eighties and early nineties - has pulled itself together and it's now comfortably in the middle range of countries, way ahead of the much more naturally wealthy Nigeria. For every Congo, Cambodia or Iraq, ruined by war or dictatorship, or every southern African country devastated by AIDS, there is a Mauritius or a South Korea, steadily working its way up the league table towards a better life for its people.
Elizabeth Blunt, BBC
Listen Listen to the words
limit, stop from spreading
down the road
later, further on in time
carry on
continue on as before
the poverty line
if you are on the poverty line you have just enough income to buy what you need in order to live
not completely satisfactory; good only in parts
meet its target
achieve the results it wants
almost, very nearly
an economic basket case
whose economy is in a very bad state. (This is an informal use)
pulled itself together
managed to find a way out of its difficulties
the league table
when countries or organisations are listed in a league table they are listed according to the results they have obtained, with the most successful at the top and the least successful at the bottom
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