Obama: U.S. will aid U.N. in helping world's poor

UNITED NATIONS — The world's nations pledged more than $40 billion to battle needless deaths among poor mothers and their children, and President Obama spoke about what America can do to help the U.N.' s ambitious development goals.

But the struggling world economy, particularly in the United States, raises deep concerns that the cash won't be forthcoming. Leaders exhorted financial donors to fulfill their aid commitments.

"The crisis is no excuse for letting up our efforts, but underscores the need for actions," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he wrapped up the three-day Millennium Development Goals summit.

With many countries still hurting from the global economic crisis, the secretary-general has repeatedly urged governments not to abandon the world's 1 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day. The United States and Britain said they will continue to do their part to help the global poor.

"We will keep our promises and honor our commitments," Obama told world leaders.

"I suspect that wealthier countries may ask — with our economies struggling, so many people out of work, and so many families barely getting by, why a summit on development?" he said. "The answer is simple. In our global economy, progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders, including my fellow Americans."

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged other countries to join Britain in meeting aid commitments.

The issues of maternal and child mortality have been a particular focus of the summit, which reviewed efforts to implement anti-poverty goals adopted in 2000 — and found them lacking. Worldwide every year, an estimated 8 million children die before reaching their 5th birthday, and about 350,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth.

The goals included cutting extreme poverty by half, ensuring universal primary education, and halting and reversing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.