Millions of people across the world are on the verge of plunging into poverty and unemployment, leading to social and political unrest, mainly in developing countries like India and Brazil, UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon warned on Tuesday in the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) report.
"We have made important progress in this effort (achieving the MDGs), and have many successes on which to build. But we have been moving too slowly to meet our goals, and today we face a global economic crisis whose full repercussions have yet to be felt. At the very least, it will throw us off course, particularly in developing countries," Ban said in the forward to the report.
"At worst, it could prevent us from keeping our promises, plunging millions more into poverty and posing a risk of social and political unrest. That is an outcome we must avoid at all costs," he added. The report was released on Tuesday in the national capital.
The UN has mandated eight MDG targets - the globally agreed targets to halve poverty, hunger, improve health, education and empower health, and remove a few more social and economic ills - to be achieved by 2015.
The UN secretary general hailed the progress made in the field of reducing AIDS burden and combating malaria and measles, two major killers of children. India has really made progress in curbing the spread of AIDS and done considerably well in medication, including provision of anti-retro viral to around 230,000 HIV positive patients.
"The report shows that the right policies and actions, backed by adequate funding and strong political commitment, can yield results," the UN chief said, adding that the world is edging closer to universalise primary education.
However, the report also notes that "many challenges remain and are likely to become even more difficult in the current economic climate. Early indications are that the poor have suffered most from the upheaval of the past year".
Ban urged developed nations not to cut down their donations to poor and developing countries who are struggling to achieve the MDGs.
"Rather than retreat, now is the time to accelerate progress towards the MDGs and strengthen the global partnership for development," he said.
"If the global community responds constructively to the crisis, the goals can still be achieved. Honouring the commitment to increase aid is critical. Equally important is ensuring that the interest of the poor and developing countries, remain central in negotiations on trade.
"I urge policymakers and all stake holders to heed the message of this valuable and timely report," the secretary general said.
In New Delhi, UN agencies hailed the Indian effort to boost the social sector which will help the country achieve its MDGs.
"We got to recognize that government of India has taken a strong step. We welcome the Indian government's policy (on social sector)," said Deirdre Boyd, country director UNDP India.
"Poverty can be reduced only through economic growth. It (the budget) is a major step. India's track record on poverty irradiation is remarkable. At least in the face of crisis, government has the commitment towards the social sector," Boyd said hailing the budget, which was presented on Monday.