We are now in a one-year countdown to establish a new approach to globalization. In September 2005, world leaders will meet at the UN to review the progress made since the Millennium Assembly in September 2000, when they pledged to support a set of ambitious objectives - the Millennium Development Goals - to help the world's poorest people escape poverty, hunger, disease, and illiteracy.
Setting goals was the easy part. When they return next fall, world leaders must decide on how to achieve them. Fortunately, a proposal by UK Chancellor Gordon Brown might provide the needed global breakthrough.
Here is the problem: globalization offers people everywhere the chance to escape extreme poverty, but it is not working in many parts of the developing world. While China and India grow rapidly, most of Africa is stagnating. Similarly, large parts of Latin America and Central Asia are experiencing rising, not falling, rates of poverty.
In most cases, geography plays an important role in success or failure. The big development success stories are places like Shanghai, port cities with ready access to world markets. The biggest development failures tend to be in rural areas far from the coast. Communities living in mountainous areas, such as in the Andes, or Central Asia, or the highlands of East Africa, are especially isolated.