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Sustained development assistance for the world’s most desperately poor people is one of the four planks of the September summit at the United Nations.

“Until very recently, the poor and vulnerable have had to settle for too many small steps … when what they hoped for were bold and meaningful advances,” U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday. “Today, we can and must do better.”

The millennium development goals (MDGs) were developed by the United Nations five years ago to target the most crushing manifestations of poverty: illiteracy, hunger, and lack of access to sanitation, potable water and communications.

Mr. Natsios said yesterday that the MDGs will likely remain unrealized, citing African leadership as one of the reasons.

“I have to say, I’m not sure, even with all these aid increases, we’re going to meet the millennium challenge goals,” Mr. Natsios said here yesterday morning.