Leaders call on UN to set new zero poverty target
The leaders of Britain, Indonesia and Liberia on Thursday called on the United Nations to set a target of 2030 to eradicate extreme poverty, as the spearhead of new development goals.
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said there had to be a "transformative shift" in production and doing business to eliminate the world's worst social ills.
The three produced a report, handed over by Yudhoyono to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of recommendations for targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which run up to 2015.
The leaders headed a 27-member panel of ministers and business leaders which recommended 12 broad new goals to eliminate poverty, secure universal access to water, new efforts on women's equality and sustainable jobs in conflict free societies.
While the MDGs concentrated on health and poverty, the leaders said the new goals had to include a target to end conflict and "ensure good governance." War and corruption are two of the main causes of poverty, they said.
To reach the new goals, the report sets out radical aims including ending agricultural subsidies, closing down tax havens and making sure multinational companies pay taxes fairly.
The report by Cameron, Yudhoyono and Johnson will now be sent to the 193-country UN General Assembly which will debate new targets to be enshrined at a world summit in 2015.
Yudhoyono said the three had sought to use a "true universal perspective" rising above their national interests.
Cameron said: "This report sets out a clear roadmap for eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.
"We need a new global partnership to finish the job on the current Millennium Development Goals, tackle the underlying causes of poverty and champion sustainable development."
The MDGs set out a target of cutting by half the number of people living on $1.25 a day by 2015. The report says however that there are still 1.2 billion people living below this extreme poverty line.
"Inequality remains and opportunity is not open to all," said the report. "The 1.2 billion poorest people account for only one percent of world consumption, while the billion richest consume 72 percent."
The world population has increased by one billion to seven billion since the MDGs were set in 2000 and it will increase by another billion by 2030.
The report predicts that food and energy shortages, climate change and inequality faced by women and young people are among the most pressing problems facing the world between 2015-2030.
"Above all, there is one trend—climate change—which will determine whether or not we can deliver on our ambitions. Scientific evidence of the direct threat from climate change has mounted," said the high level panel.
Ban said the panel had outlined "important and ambitious concepts" that build on the MDGs, which have acted as a catalyst to drive increased aid toward alleviating poverty and improving health in the poorest countries.
Child death rates have fallen by more than 30 percent, with about three million children's lives saved each year compared to 2000. Deaths from malaria have fallen by one quarter in that time.
Aid groups broadly welcomed the panel's focus on eliminating poverty and pressing for action on climate change.
Oxfam said there must be more attention to the growing income inequality in the world.
"Global poverty is declining, but income inequality is soaring," said Oxfam expert Stephen Hale. "A plan for reducing inequality was a major omission in the original MDGs, and ignoring income inequalities now will undermine the struggle to eliminate poverty and injustice."
Michael Elliott, president of the ONE development advocacy foundation set up by rock singer Bono, said the report's call to action on poverty was a "milestone."
"Now we have to turn words into action," he said.
© 2013 AFP