This morning I had the somewhat special opportunity to go to the U.N. to hear the Secretary General Kofi Annan present “The Millennium Goals Report” to the media. Little did I realize that I’d end up far more in awe of the physical presence of the U.N. building, the exclusivity of its pressroom–and the fact that I was in it–than Mr. Annan and his presentation. I sat utterly uninspired by Mr. Annan, his colleagues, and their report on the world’s development… or lack-there-of.
As they rattled off the eight seemingly trite goals of “The Millennium Development Goals Report,” I could not help but find myself incredibly disillusioned by the grimness of their release that there has been little or no improvement in poverty-stricken nations. I walked into the room nervously expecting profound, intricate goals to breeze over my head, only to feel rather alarmed. These are the ‘experts’ designated to mediate world issues? More like figureheads.
As Mr. Annan professed the U.N.’s goals of “eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environment sustainabilty, and developing a global partnership for development,” I became nostalgic of the commencement speech given by the president of the class of 2005 of my college. They both presented undistinguished and cliched goals for the future of our world’s youth.
The articulated “long-term” objectives of the “Millennium Development Goals” are the same stale “long-term” objectives from a long time ago. The redundancy of the U.N.’s “practical” plan to fix the world is practical indeed, so practical in fact, eighth graders also tackle these general “world issues” in their social studies classes everyday. Perhaps next year a panel of eighth-graders from PS-158 will present an update on “The Millennium Development Goals.” I’d bet they would come up with some refreshing agendas to implement the goal of bettering the world.