Progress has been made in achieving the goal of global partnership for development, but the global economic slowdown continues to hinder progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to a UN report.

The international community must live up to the commitments it made in support of achieving universally accepted anti-poverty targets, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on September 19 during the launch of the Millennium Development Goals Gap Task Force Report 2013.

"Today I am pleased to report progress on MDG 8, the global partnership for development. As the report shows, tariffs on exports from developing countries are down. Exports from developing to developed countries are up. A larger proportion of exports from least developed countries are being admitted tax free. Access to mobile phone technology and the internet continue to rapidly expand," he said.

"New countries and other partners are stepping up. But all must deliver on commitments - on official development assistance, climate finance and domestic resource mobilisation."

The annual report – prepared by the Task Force created in 2007 to track global commitments on aid, trade and debt, and to follow progress on access to essential medicines and technology – shows that the international community must recommit to increasing aid and reaching an agreement on development-oriented multilateral trade.

Entitle "The Global Partnership for Development: The Challenge We Face", the report shows that developing countries gained greater access to technologies, markets for their exports, some essential medicines and greater debt relief.

Access to mobile phone technology and Internet continue to rapidly expand, with some medicines, such as those to treat HIV/AIDS, becoming more affordable.

"However, much more needs to be done," he said at the launch, which came amid 1,000 days of action to spur progress towards the MDGs. "While global economic trends are slowly improving, the crisis continues to take a toll," he said, adding that "for the first time in a long while, official development assistance (ODA) has fallen for two consecutive years."

ODA declined 4 percent in 2012, down to 125.9 billion USD from 134 billion USD in 2011, mainly due to fiscal austerity measures by countries in the European Union, according to the report.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged donor countries to continue to strive for, or even surpass, the ODA target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income, particularly to the least developed countries (LDC).

"What we saw last year is actually a little bit of a trend that the global partnership, the agreement, the contract, between the north and the south when it comes to the willingness and commitment of the North to support his historic effort, we see signs of eroding or become weaker," said Olav Kjørven, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Bureau for Development Policy at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) which co-chairs the Task Force along with UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

"The most important message for me coming out of this report is let’s turn this around," he said. "Let’s stop this erosion, let’s stop this backsliding when it comes to aid commitments… and show that we’re serious about this global partnership for the last two years until the milestone of 2015."

According to the report, several important targets have been met and are likely to be met by the target year of 2015 as a result of collective efforts by the international community, governments, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders.

However, the report, which was issued ahead of the annual high-level General Assembly meetings next week where the MDGs are due to top the agenda, also calls for bolder action in areas such as pollution, child and maternal health, HIV prevention and basic education.-VNA