This week at the U.N. General Assembly President Obama is set to address U.S. efforts to reduce global poverty by reaffirming support for the Millennium Development Goals. After 10 years and trillions of dollars spent, little progress has been achieved. With a ambitious 2015 deadline for the MDG’s completion, the U.N. has a lot of work to do.

In his chapter in ConUNdrum, Heritage Director for the Center of International Trade and Economics, Ambassador Terry Miller, states that while U.N. Millennium Development Goals are noble aspirations, they are unachievable. U.N. development programs fail to recognize that development is ultimately a process of individual change that governments can, at best, facilitate. Success is achieved primarily through the efforts of the poor themselves, entrepreneurs, businessmen, and other private actors that organize productive economic activity.

A system that lends itself to the inefficiencies created by central planning does little to help those who are in greatest need. A better way to alleviate global poverty is to transform the U.N. system into one that promotes transparency, competition, and democratic values.