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Why Millennium Development Goals Are Essential to Our Nation

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Why Millennium Development Goals Are Essential to Our Nation

We live in a world that is dangerously out of balance. There are 1.1 billion people living on less than one dollar a day, an additional 1.7 billion people living on less than 2 dollars a day, more than 115 million children uneducated, and over 40 million people are HIV positive. These numbers show that there is great misery and unnecessary death in our world and that billions of people have little opportunity to lead a decent life and fully use their potential to develop as human beings. For the first time in human history there is an extremely powerful consensus in which the global community is attempting to work together in the hopes of ensuring that all people, everywhere, have a decent standard of living. This consensus is known as the Millennium Declaration which was set up in September of 2000 by the 189 member states of the United Nations. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were established in this Declaration provide the opportunity for a significant decrease in the dangerous imbalance between developed and developing nations. Committing to these goals is necessary for two reasons: we are all human beings and have inalienable rights to life, and it is in our best interests to create a prospering global society in order to promote a high level of national security.

Principle of Mercy: The Need to Meet Human Rights

As human beings we are called to identify ourselves with all other human beings. We have to let ourselves be affected by the struggles that 2.8 billion people experience each day due to inadequate funds, lack of education, and lack of health care. Sobrino speaks of the principle of mercy which requires us to not only become aware of the injustices around the world, but to react to them and do everything possible to eradicate the issues completely. Jesus tells us what it takes to be a complete human being in the narrative of the Good Samaritan and defines it as follows: "the ideal, total human being is represented as one who has seen someone else lying wounded in the ditch along the road, has reacted, and has helped the victim in every way possible" (Sobrino 16). We must interiorize the suffering of all human beings and feel the pains that they endure every day. The MDGs call for a reformation in which we meet all human rights of the poor because we have the responsibility to do so as human persons.

Since human rights are a focus of the MDGs, it is essential to provide an opportunity for poor countries to develop and have the freedom to live. The right to development obligates rich countries to contribute to an equitable, non-discriminatory system for International cooperation in which the main objective is the delivery of basic needs, particularly primary health care and primary education. We need to move away from the typical view of poverty which sees poor people as lazy and lacking food and money and start seeing these deprivations as "human poverty" in which our neighbors are being denied access to basic resources, international representation, participation in global markets, and are strongly discriminated. They are truly being dehumanized and just as Archbishop Romero courageously took the side of the poor people in El Salvador, we too must realize the importance of the poor. They are divine human beings because of their identification with Jesus, who said that whatever is done to them is also done to Him.

The poor people touch the heart of God and they should in turn touch our hearts on earth. We need to awake from the sleep of inhumanity, see God in all persons, and start to take responsibility for one another. The principle of mercy requires us to be moral beings and to act as a Good Samaritan by defending the rights of the poor, encouraging them to stand up for themselves, confronting the problem, and mobilizing to make changes happen. Without practicing this principle of mercy we are not truly human beings because we are not meeting our moral obligation of showing compassion. Our humanity is hanging in the balance and in order to preserve it we need to stop allowing our brothers and sisters to be denied their human rights: water, markets, education, power, freedom, etc.

Leadership in Support of MDGs: Promoting National Security

The Millennium Development Goals represent a commitment by all nations and institutions to eliminate global poverty. The MDGs need to be emphasized and implemented at all stages and their success is highly dependent on financing the project. The UN Millennium Project is centered on the belief that .7 percent of rich countries' GNP can provide enough resources to meet the goals. If every developed country followed through with a timetable to reach the necessary target by 2015, the world could make dramatic progress in the fight against extreme poverty. At the Monterrey Consensus a statement was made by the United States: "we urge developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of .7 percent of GNP..." (Sachs 338). This statement shows that the US is beginning to take leadership in the efforts to meet the MDGs; however, it seems that we are pointing fingers and not taking the proper action ourselves. In 2004 our government only provided .14 percent of the GNP, which is well below the target.

The leadership of the United States has much importance because without public and political support for the development goals, we are not only risking the lives of innocent



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