Tom Arnold on the Millennium Development Goals
At an earlier stage of his career, he worked for the European Commission on Agricultural Policy and on development programmes, representing the Commission for three years in the Ivory Coast and Malawi. Tom was Chairman of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Committee of Agriculture (1993 – 1998). In 2003, he was appointed to the UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force (2003 - 2004), established by Kofi Annan to devise a strategy to halve world hunger by 2015.
Tom was a member of the Irish Hunger Task Force (2007 - 2008), which was charged with proposing a strategy through which Ireland could make a distinctive contribution towards ending world hunger. He is a member of the International Food Policy Research Institute’s 2020 Advisory Council and the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund’s Advisory Group.
At European level, he is chairman of the European Food Security Group, a network of 40 European NGOs engaged in food and hunger work and is Vice-chair of the Trans Atlantic Food Aid Dialogue – an alliance of American, European and Canadian NGOs working on the reform of international food aid.
Tom was recently appointed to the trust governing the Irish Times, Ireland’s leading newspaper and to the Irish government’s Commission on Taxation.
Tom Arnold is a graduate in Agricultural Economics from University College Dublin and has Masters Degrees from the Catholic University of Louvain and Trinity College Dublin.
Question: Are the MDG’s realistic benchmarks?
Arnold: It has two parts to it. One is having poverty and the other, as a connected goal, is having hunger. Is it realistic? Theoretically, yes, but in many countries are way off track at this stage. Many countries, particularly in Africa, are way off track. And if… We’re now more than halfway through that period, the goal was set in 2000, the target is 2015, and if we are to have a chance to achieving that, there needs to be a much greater urgency, indeed more resources, and it’s getting, going to become more difficult to get those resources in the current economic climate. So, it goes back to the point I made earlier, that the resources we have at our disposal, the development community, let’s put it that way, those resources are going to have to be used very intelligently and very strategically. And the partnership that is implicit in achieving those goals between countries themselves, the ownership of their development process and the other development actors, the donors, the NGOs and so on, those partnerships have to really work, because if they do work, then you can do a lot more with the resources that you have.
The CEO says the goal to reduce poverty by half by 2015 is still achievable.
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