Obama will participate Wednesday in the closing session of a two-day summit on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, the eight-point strategy adopted by world leaders in 2000 for lifting the standard of living of the world’s poorest by 2015. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the summit both to take stock of progress and to prod the international community to renewed action, pressing participants from more than 145 countries to do better on everything from reducing hunger to tackling maternal and infant mortality to raising access to primary education
Obama will remind attendees that the US, the world’s largest provider of development assistance, is at the forefront of efforts. But he will also encourage both wealthy and developing countries to rethink their strategies for reducing poverty, putting greater emphasis on local economic development programs and plans that reach more of the world’s least-accessible rural poor. He is also expected to say more attention must be paid to accountability and weeding out corruption.
A controversial indicator to watch for: how much importance Obama places on the role family-planning services play in economic development. Conservatives who suspect the administration of opening the door to abortion will be ready to pounce.