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World Leaders Convene at the Carter Center to Address Challenges to Overcoming Global Poverty

ATLANTA, GA… World Bank President James Wolfensohn, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Mark Malloch Brown, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Andrew Natsios, Minister of International Development for Norway Hilde Johnson, and Minister of Development Cooperation for the Netherlands Eveline Herfkens will join former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin February 21-22 at The Carter Center to address challenges to economic development and overcoming poverty. Four sitting presidents, from Albania, Guyana, Mali, and Mozambique, will detail their countries' experiences in developing poverty reduction strategies with the help of the international community.

Hosted by the Center's Global Development Initiative, the Development Cooperation Forum "Human Security and the Future of Development Cooperation" will explore development strategies and the obstacles to achieving development in impoverished countries. More than one billion people live on less than a dollar day, and poverty has been increasing. Outside of China, more than 100 million people have been added to this dollar-a-day statistic over the past decade. The greatest number of poor people live in South Asia, but the proportion of poor is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region plagued with civil conflict, stagnant economic growth, and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The international community has set targets to decrease by half the proportion of people in extreme poverty worldwide by 2015, ensure all children are enrolled in primary school, reduce infant and child mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-fourths, and preserve the environment. These Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were endorsed by 189 countries at the September 2000 UN Millennium General Assembly in New York. Recent reports from the United Nations and the World Bank indicate these goals likely will not be met and, in some instances, conditions are deteriorating.

At the Forum, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown will announce the first UN assessment on global progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. Robert Rubin will discuss the need to build political support to address poverty in an environment of global interdependence, and World Bank President Jim Wolfensohn will address why effective development cooperation is more important than ever in a post-September 11th world.

Conference participants include Tim Geithner, director of policy development for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Jean-Claude Faure, chair of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Callisto Madavo, Africa region vice president of the World Bank, and Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development.

"The urgent need for more effective development cooperation to greatly reduce human suffering and all the ills that such suffering spawns cannot be overstated," said Ed Cain, director of the Global Development Initiative. "Based on The Carter Center's experience in developing countries, we have been able to help demonstrate how effective cooperation can be improved through broad participation and nationally driven sustainable development strategies. Only through such strategies will it be possible to identify, adopt, and implement the policies and practices needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals."

The Center's Global Development Initiative is working with Albania, Guyana, Mali, and Mozambique to formulate comprehensive national development strategies through partnerships with government and civil society. These strategies are blueprints for economic, social, and democratic development that represent a shared vision for the future. The Initiative acts as a catalyst and facilitator for nationally led dialogue and practices that strengthen donor coordination and the prioritizing of needs.

The forum is sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Governments of the Netherlands and Norway, and the Carnegie Foundation.

Founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, The Carter Center works to promote peace and health worldwide. It is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.

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