United Nations on Tuesday urged the member nations to establish a "coalition of conscience" backed by firm action to check global imbalances and achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of eliminating poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy.
"The good news is that we have all the resources in our command today to achieve this ambition in our own generation," UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told the General Assembly committee dealing with economic and financial issues.
"We just cannot afford to fail," she said.
Global poverty is one of the "most pressing issues of our time," trapping millions of children, women and men, she said, adding that nowhere is its grip tighter than in Africa, where millions of lives quite literally hang in the balance.
She said sharp social and economic disparities in the global economy make it even harder to achieve the set of internationally agreed anti-poverty objectives known as the Millennium Development Goals by the target date of 2015.
Particularly worrying is the risk global economic imbalances pose to a large number of countries, including African and least developed nations, as well as states moving from conflict to reconstruction and development, she said, stressing that donors must do more to keep their promises.
Foreign aid, while important, "is clearly not enough," she said, calling for open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory trading and financial systems.
Also addressing the committee, the Under-Secretary- General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang said that despite repeated calls, no serious action has been taken to address global imbalances and warned that "changes in market sentiments and investor confidence could trigger a hard landing of the dollar and a disorderly adjustment of the global imbalances."