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UK sets tough new targets for UN Africa programmes

afrol News, 4 December - The United Kingdom has set new tough targets for the UN if more lives are to be saved with UK donor money.

Speaking to the UN and Government figures at the end of a fact finding mission in Africa to assess the UN's work, International Development Minister Gareth

Thomas set out tough new performance targets for the UN focusing on health, help for new mothers and their babies and tackling HIV and AIDS.

The new targets will be used to monitor delivery by the UN on UK funding.

Minister Thomas also called for urgent reforms in the UN if programmes were to be run effectively, saying reforms were urgent.

"Presently the UN is not fit for purpose to lead the world's response to eradicating poverty and tackling the climate crisis. With the world's economic crisis about to hit both developing countries and inevitably the UN, we need to accelerate the reform agenda so it can deal with these global challenges," said the British minister.

He further said to succeed, there needs to be reforms in the five key areas of leadership of the organisation, conflict and humanitarian assistance, gender equality, climate change, and performance and funding.

"It is on the point of performance and funding that today I am announcing that the UK is setting tough performance targets for UN agencies," he said, also adding, "In addition to our own targets, we need an independent assessor with the right technical expertise and a remit to undertake robust, system-wide inspections and to follow up on their recommendations."

UK targets include 85% of births to be attended by skilled health personnel by 2011 and ensuring the World Health Organisation helps all affected countries tackle malaria by 2013, with 50% helped by 2009.

Amongst places of UK's programmes interest, minister Thomas visited Lang'ata Women's Prison in Nairobi to monitor how the UN reform is helping HIV and AIDS suffers.

Speaking in Lang'ata women's prison, Mr Thomas urged other donors to back British efforts saying this would boost transparency and streamlining for successful implementation of programmes.

"Setting targets and streamlining our approach means protecting more people from HIV and AIDS with UK donor money. As the second largest donor to the UN in the world, what I have seen during my fact finding mission has proved the need for more transparency and streamlining," he said.

The minister also announced that a contribution of £80 million to the UNFPA to tackle maternal health will be performance based, with additional funds available if jointly agreed targets are met.

Since September this year all the UK's donor money for the UN in Kenya for HIV and AIDS has gone into one pot rather than working through many different parts of the UN, an innovation said to be lessening bureaucracy and duplication of work and funding, and also offering clearer lines of command and a more focused effort in terms of the UK's contribution to the UN.

Earlier in the week in Tanzania, Mr Thomas had also met with the government and UN heads to monitor a pilot pioneered by the UK and the Tanzanian Government to place all UN efforts in in that country under one office - under the one leader and one budget reform strategy. UK has offered an additional £2.4 million for the One UN programme in Tanzania, to enable the UN programme to work together more efficiently to reduce poverty and take action in several key areas.

The UK spends US$ 1 billion each year through the UN system, making it the second largest provider of funding for the UN.

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