UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Saturday the world must devote the same resources to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as it did to tackling the global economic crisis.
"If the world can mobilise 20 trillion dollars (15 trillion euros) in a short period in response to the economic crisis, there can be little excuse for not finding the far more modest resources needed" to meet the poverty-cutting goals, he told an international policy conference in Austria.
The financial crisis and the subsequent austerity plans have delayed progress on the MDGs, the United Nations chief said at the close of the 20-day European Forum in the western village of Alpbach.
"Let us be clear: fiscal prudence and measures to protect the vulnerable can coexist," Ban was quoted as saying by the Austrian news agency APA.
"Economic uncertainty should not be an excuse to back away from those pledges."
The eight MDGs, adopted by world leaders at a 2000 summit, include halving extreme poverty and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.
A summit on the millennium goals is scheduled for September 20-22 in New York.