Micah Challenge: Letter to Treasurer of Australia

General November 10, 2006

The following letter was written by Micah Challenge Council Member Steve Bradbury to the Treasurer of calling on the G20 to address poverty. If your country is a member of the G20, please consider writing to your Treasurer or Chancellor.

Information about the G20 is at http://www.g20.org/Public/index.jsp

The G20 will meet in Melbourne, on November 18-19, 2006. The member countries are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. The Managing Director of the IMF and the President of the World Bank, as well as the Chairpersons of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee of the IMF and World Bank, will participate fully in the discussions.

Dear Mr Costello,

The rapidly approaching gathering of the G20 finance ministers in Melbourne has prompted me to write and urge you to use this as a strategic opportunity to be an influential advocate for the world ' s poor. In my dual capacities as National Director of TEAR and a member of the International Council of Micah Challenge, I urge you to do all that you can to reposition as a leader in the global movement to halve poverty.

The statistics of poverty-related suffering read like an evil litany.

Over the two days the G20 is meeting, more than 50,000 children will die from poverty-related causes; 2,800 women will needlessly die in pregnancy or childbirth; and more than 16,000 people will die as a result of HIV and AIDS.

Moreover, I know that you share my conviction that each and every person represented in these evil statistics is someone made in the very image of God. I am confident that, like me, your humanity and faith is challenged by their suffering. My plea to you is to take a lead role in confronting this continuing tragedy.

The G20 has previously acknowledged that it ‘should play an active role in addressing critical development issues’ and has committed to a ‘shared vision for global development’. At its meeting last year, the Group determined to ‘carry the momentum forward’ on combating poverty. However, this ongoing commitment to combat poverty does not seem to be reflected in the G20 agenda.

Is there not something you could do to change this?

Specifically the G20 should address:

§ the need for debt relief to be extended to all countries struggling to meet MDG targets;

§ the need to increase levels of aid and better coordinate and target aid towards poverty reduction and the achievement of the MDGs;

§ the importance of restarting WTO Doha Round negotiations, and implementing a genuine ‘development agenda’ to ensure a pro-poor outcome to multilateral trade negotiations.

Please seize the opportunity provided by the G20 meeting in November to increase global co-operation.

In this context I also ask you to do everything you can to improve Australia's national contribution to poverty alleviation through its ODA. Many of us are yearning for a government that will commit Australia to achieving an aid budget of .5% of GNI by 2010, and to an aid program that has a clear poverty alleviation bias. Many of us are looking for a political leadership that will deliver this.

Yours sincerely

Steve Bradbury

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National Director TEAR Australia

International Chairman Micah Network

International Council Micah Challenge