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Poverty efforts must improve

As world leaders gather in New York to discuss the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), aid experts have questioned whether the MDGs are the right framework for tackling world poverty.

Although progress in many areas remains too slow, there have also been many successes in tackling extreme poverty, expanding access to safe water and improving child health and school enrolment, showing that the MDGs are not only achievable with the right combination of policies, but that the framework itself has made a real difference.

Northern leaders need to recognise not only that aid works - and those that have missed their pledges on aid volume need to recommit this week - but that it can also be made to work better.

Far from retreating from the promises made at the beginning of the millennium, world leaders should be stepping up their efforts, as ultimately it is the poor in southern countries who will pay the price of failure.

HENRY NORTHOVER

Head of policy, WaterAid

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