U.N., Google, Cisco unite on poverty-tracking Web site

Site tracks progress in decreasing global poverty by 2015

The United Nations, Google and Cisco Systems have launched a Web site that will track the progress toward decreasing global poverty by 2015.

The online project, called MDG Monitor (Millennium Development Goals) was launched by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to focus attention on the need for people, companies and governments around the world to work together to fight poverty.

In September 2000, a group of world leaders adopted eight goals called the Millennium Development Goals that called for countries to reduce poverty and hunger, and to tackle such issues as disease, gender inequality, illiteracy, lack of access to clean water and threats to the environment.

The MDG Monitor Web site tracks progress toward these goals in a number of categories in nearly every country in the world. It also provides the most current data from multiple sources in areas such as public health and education.

A visitor to the site, for example, can use Google Earth to find places where work is being done to reach the goals. "MDG Monitor enables more than 300 million Google Earth users to better understand the MDGs and what it will take to achieve them," according to the statement.

"Achieving the goals is a truly global task, requiring governments, international organizations, private companies and civil society to work together," said Ki-moon in a statement. He cited the support of Google and Cisco in developing the MDG Monitor as an example of the kind of "innovative partnerships we need."

Information is available for download on the MDG Monitor Web site and will soon appear as a global awareness layer in Google Earth.

Cisco provided financial and technical support for the Web site.

"Cisco believes that the power of technology, along with human ingenuity in deploying it, can effectively address global socio-economic issues and lead to sustainable change," said Cisco Senior Vice President Carlos Dominguez, in the statement.

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Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld

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