Gordon Brown plans to harness at least 20 of the world’s biggest multinational companies, including Google and Vodafone, to tackle a “development emergency” in the world’s poorest countries and put the international community back on course to achieve seven UN development goals by 2015. As a UN report released today shows limited progress in hitting goals intended to tackle poverty, education, health and sanitation, the prime minister has been holding talks with the internet and telecoms giants as well as other international companies including Goldman Sachs and Wal-Mart in an attempt to find ways of increasing growth in poor countries. Brown will use three set-piece events next year – a conference involving the private sector in London in the spring, next summer’s meeting of the G8 in Japan and a UN session in New York in the autumn – to reinvigorate the drive to hit the UN’s millennium development goals, set in 2000. Brown told the Guardian: “We are half way to the target date of 2015, but a long way off track to our goals and face a development emergency. 2008 should be a development year and mark a call to action from everyone – not just rich and poor governments but civil society, faith groups, trade unions and even the private sector. Image source: markhillary > Continue.