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  • UN in deal to fight global poverty

    Rich and poor countries have agreed to overhaul global finance for international development and unlock money to end global poverty.

    The United Nations announced the deal on its website following three days of negotiations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    The deal to finance new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be adopted by world leaders in September.

    It also sets ambitious targets to protect the environment and "improve economic opportunity" by 2030.

    "This agreement is a critical step forward in building a sustainable future for all," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on UN's website.

    "The results here in Addis Ababa give us the foundation of a revitalised global partnership for sustainable development that will leave no one behind."

    Seventeen new development goals were agreed, including ending poverty and hunger, ensuring quality education for all, achieving gender equality and making cities safe and environmentally sustainable. It is estimated it will cost more than $3 trillion a year to achieve these goals.

    The goals will also see developing nations generating more domestic tax revenues in order to finance their own development agenda, rather than relying on foreign aid.

    Developing counties will push through measures to improve tax collection and combat tax evasion, as well as money-laundering.


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  • World on way to 'generation free of AIDS', says UN chief

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says "the world has delivered" on its AIDS goals, with 15 million people receiving HIV treatment (AFP Photo/Tony Karumba)

    Addis Ababa (AFP) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday the world was headed for a "generation free of AIDS", after UNAIDS reported a 35 percent drop in new HIV infections from 15 years ago.

    "The world has delivered. We have achieved and exceeded the... goals regarding AIDS. We have 15 million people on HIV treatment. We are on the way to a generation free of AIDS," Ban said in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where he is attending a global development summit.

    According to the UNAIDS report released on Tuesday in Geneva, there have been remarkable strides since the advent in 1996 of anti-retroviral drugs, which suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

    Though not a cure, the therapy creates a virtuous circle. The less the virus is in circulation, the less likely it is that people become infected.

    Although new HIV infections declined to two million in 2014 against 3.1 million 14 years ago and the number of new infections has noticeably decreased or remained stagnant, UNAIDS warned spending has plateaued and called for more to be done to roll back the virus.

    There are currently 36.9 million people living with HIV around the world. Around March this year, 15 million of them were accessing anti-retroviral therapy.

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  • 3rd Int’l Conference on Financing for Dev’t kicks off in Addis

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Global Civil Society Forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the eve of the opening of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

    World leaders are meeting in Ethiopia's capital from Monday for a development financing summit presented as crucial for United Nations efforts to end global poverty and manage climate change by 2030.

    The objective of the five days of talks, the third summit of its kind after talks in Monterrey in 2002 and Doha in 2008, is ambitious: laying out the ground rules for a fairer world of inclusive, low-carbon growth.

    Concretely, that means deciding how to fill a colossal annual investment gap in key sustainable development sectors for developing nations - estimated at up to $2.5 trillion annually according to the UN's trade and development body UNCTAD.

    This in turn will enable the world body to push ahead with its 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which are due to be formally adopted in New York in October. There are 17 in all, ranging from ending poverty to providing universal access to sustainable energy.

    The choice of Ethiopia as summit host highlights the importance of the issue for Africa, a continent which counts 33 out of the world's 49 least developed countries, according to AFP.

    Having brought millions out of poverty and having invested heavily in infrastructure and key public services, the country is seen as a model for development.


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  • 'Live Aid did nothing for me' says poster child of Ethiopian famine

    Madonna and Birhan Woldu danced onstage at Live 8 in 2005 - Photo: Getty

    An Ethiopian woman who became the face of Sir Bob Geldof’s Live Aid campaign says she can’t support her family and has been made a recluse by the fame.

    Birhan Woldu, now 34, became the “poster child” for the Ethiopian Famine after she was filmed on the brink of death near a food station in the north of the country.

    20 years later, she was brought on stage by Sir Bob at 2005’s Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park as an example of the success of the campaign.

    He told the crowd: “She had 10 minutes to live 20 years ago. Because of Live Aid 20 years ago…last week she did her agricultural exams in the school she goes to in the northern Ethiopian highlands.

    “She is here. Don’t let them tell you that this doesn’t work. Look at this beautiful woman.’

    But she says the fame thrust upon her by the high profile appearance has forced her underground - and that the Live Aid campaign did “nothing” for her.

    She told the Guardian: “For me, personally, Live Aid has done nothing. I am branded as the symbol of Live Aid due to the image of the 1980s.

    "My stories are well documented and have reached the skies. But I live underground. The state I am in at this moment is miserable. I do not have a job and I cannot support my family on my own.”

    Birhan’s school fees were paid by Canadian journalist Brian Stewart - whose crew made the film that made her the face of the famine.

    She worked as a nurse for 10 months after graduating from University, but has been unemployed since.


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