By Lesley Wroughton and Missy Ryan
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A United Nations summitTuesday urged intensified efforts to meet U.N. goals todrastically reduce poverty and hunger by 2015, saying aid alonewould not pull countries out of poverty.
The meeting of 140 leaders from rich and poor countries isreviewing progress toward achieving the U.N. MillenniumDevelopment Goals (MDGs) agreed 10 years ago to cut poverty.
While the world looks likely to halve poverty and hungerfive years from now, a United Nations report said countrieswere behind on other goals that cover improved child education,child mortality and maternal health, combating diseasesincluding AIDS, promoting gender equality and protecting theenvironment.
The goals have been set back by the global financial andeconomic crisis, which has forced some rich donors to cutdevelopment assistance as they try to trim record budget gapsand focus on job losses at home.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said countries should notrely indefinitely on handouts and had to take charge of theirown development and ensure resources are properly used.
She said economic and social progress was "unthinkable"without good governance and human rights.
"The primary responsibility for development lies with thegovernments of the developing countries," she told the specialU.N. Assembly session. "It is in their hands whether aid can beeffective. Therefore, support for good governance is asimportant as aid itself."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said meetingpoverty goals rested with governments although he noted thathelping the worst-off countries was only possible throughcoordinated support by the entire international community.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe blamed "illegal anddebilitating" sanctions for widespread poverty in his country.
The United States and the European Union imposed sanctionson state firms and travel restrictions on Mugabe and dozens ofhis associates nearly 10 years ago after a violent re-electioncampaign and often violent commercial farm seizures.
While the formation of a unity government in Zimbabwe hasled to improvements in its economy and eased tensions with somedonors, the country remains largely an international outcast.
"As a result of these punitive measures and despite ourturn-around economic plan, Zimbabwe has been prevented frommaking a positive difference in the lives of the poor, thehungry, the sick and the destitute among its citizens," hesaid.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the gathering capitalism was on the verge of death and it was time to createa new economic system.
"Now that the discriminatory order of capitalism and thehegemonic approaches are facing defeat and are getting close totheir end, all-out participation in upholding justice andprosperous inter-relations is essential," he said.
"The world is in need of an encompassing and of course justand human order in light of which the rights of all arepreserved and peace and security are safeguarded."
HELPING WOMEN HELP THEMSELVES
Several speakers said the goals will not be achieved unlessmore is done to improve the lives of poor women.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's firstfemale head of state, called for more investments in sectorsthat help women, including agriculture and small-scale enterprises.
"As we renew our resolve in the year 2010 we must recognizethe need for inclusive economic growth ... rapid, sustainedgrowth that creates jobs especially for youth and that help thepoor and in sectors that help women," she said.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) in financing to help Africa,Caribbean and Pacific countries lagging in the MDGs and urgedother donors not to use the economic crisis as an excuse toshirk their responsibilities to the poor.
"The international community still has a long way to beforethe millennium goals are reached," he said.
"Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is not anoption. It is not a luxury. It is both an obligation and aninvestment. The world cannot thrive on imbalances," he added. (Additional reporting by Helen Popper; Editing by JerryNorton)