September 20, 2010
Some of the world’s biggest advocates for tackling poverty and injustice are starting to gather in New York, ready for this week’s summit to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Five years away from the deadline to achieve some of the world’s most ambitious and emphatic commitments to reducing global poverty, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to attend a summit in New York.
And the world’s leading agencies working around the world to reduce poverty see this as a golden opportunity to call world leaders to account.
‘Ten years ago, our leaders committed themselves to a set of goals which we all knew would be immensely challenging, because we didn’t want yet another generation of children to grow up in a world which is fundamentally unfair and unjust,’ says Paul Cook, Tearfund’s Advocacy Director.
‘We’ve seen encouraging progress in many areas but we’re still a long way off tackling poverty once and for all. We must see real progress this week, especially in developing an effective accountability mechanism which will hold governments to account for clear targets every year for the next five years.
‘It’s time we all recognised the role of churches as essential partners in plans to achieve the MDGs, along with governments, businesses and the rest of civil society. Only yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron described faith as part of the fabric of British society and assured the British public that Britain would continue to tackle global poverty and climate change. We must embrace the opportunities that churches and faith communities bring in working with poor communities at grassroots levels to transform their own lives forever.’
The Millennium Development Goals, agreed by the G8 in 2000, are:
MDG1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
MDG2 Achieve universal primary education
MDG3 Promote gender equality and empower women
MDG4 Reduce child mortality rate
MDG5 Improve maternal health
MDG6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
MDG7 Ensure environmental sustainability
MDG8 Develop a global partnership for development
Today, as world leaders start to gather for the Summit, Tearfund and other relief and development agencies will call for public endorsement for the Sanitation and Water for All initiative, to target water and sanitation aid so that low income countries get the investment they need. Agencies will also ask for sufficient finance to replenish the Global Fund to tackle HIV, TB and malaria.
‘We must also see the UK Government speak out on climate change, which has become the elephant in the room when discussing global poverty,’ says Paul Cook.
‘It’s ridiculous to think that we can tackle global poverty without recognising the huge changes in climate that are already happening around the world and which are affecting the world’s poorest countries – ironically, the ones that have done the least to cause it. We demand a global deal to put funds towards supporting developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change, and this money must be additional to that already committed to overseas development assistance.
‘And all the plans discussed this week will come to very little if we don’t make sure that there is a clear roadmap for the next five years, with annual targets that can clearly be measured, and that we all hold our governments to account for meeting these targets.’
Notes to editors:
The MDG Summit runs from 20 to 22 September in New York.
Tearfund’s MDG Summit asks
Tearfund would like to see an MDG Review Summit that delivers for the world’s poorest people and results in an ambitious five-year rescue plan. The existing Outcomes Document should be supplemented by country-by-country commitments to be implemented and monitored, with the involvement of civil society, between 2010 and 2015.
In addition, Tearfund believes that churches must be recognised as essential partners in plans to achieve the MDGs. The MDGs can only be achieved through a global partnership for development, which includes donors, recipients, business, civil society and faith groups. Churches around the world are often at the forefront of development, providing services such as healthcare and education.
What should the UK Government focus on?
Tearfund believes that the UK Government should ensure that the most off-track MDGs are addressed, including water and sanitation, which is so often forgotten in the debate about child and maternal health. The Government should put forward proposals to accelerate progress on MDG 6 (to combat HIV, TB and malaria), and should also recognise that addressing environmental issues and the threat of climate change is central to achievement of the other goals. Tearfund would like to see:
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency, and a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).