World leaders have gathered at the United Nations in New York City this week to tackle the problem of global poverty. Ten years ago, the U.N. set the most ambitious goals ever in the war against poverty known as the Millenium Development Goals.
The U.N. has a deadline -- to help the poorest of the poor significantly by the year 2015. They want to cut extreme poverty in half, ensure that every child has a basic education, reverse the AIDS pandemic and reduce maternal mortality.
U.N. member countries have been working toward those goals since 2000 with some interruptions.
"The series of global crises, natural disasters and ongoing conflicts of recent years do not make the task any easier, but not do they make it impossible," said Helen Clark, United Nations development program chief.
Amnesty International said 70 percent of those living in poverty are women. To make its point, the organization unveiled a maternal death clock in New York City's Times Square this week. More than 300,000 women have died in pregnancy and childbirth since the new millenium, according to Amnesty estimates.
"If we don't have a very strong focus on the poorest people on the planet -- the women, the indigenous people, the people who are excluded and left behind -- we are going to find ourselves in the same situation in 2015 where the averages look good, but the people who need these goals the most -- the women, the poorest people -- are going to be left out," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general.
Recent reports show the world's poorest countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, have made little progress in fighting poverty.
On Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to boost aid by 20 percent over the next three years. Sarkozy also called for other nations to join him -- and resist the "old bad habits" of ignoring global poverty.