Tearfund calls on Nick Clegg: Don’t Disappoint Billions of People

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September 21, 2010

As UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg arrives in New York today (21 September) for the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Summit, Tearfund calls on him to address the disappointment that many are feeling.

The outcomes document, expected to be adopted tomorrow (22 September), is widely considered by development experts and justice campaigners to be a disappointment, consisting of positive language but no tangible promises.

‘We’ve heard our Prime Minister David Cameron say some very encouraging things in the last few days about our moral commitment to addressing global poverty and climate change,’ says Paul Cook, Tearfund’s Advocacy Director.

‘Let’s hope that Nick Clegg avoids disappointing billions of people who are living in poverty, and specifies the actions the UK Government will take in order to put this commitment into practice.

‘There are so many measures that the MDG document could have listed as concrete plans for the next five years, but instead we are fobbed off with stylish words with no substance.’

Tearfund calls on Mr Clegg to use his public statement to commit the UK to additional investment in addressing poverty and climate change.

‘We won’t achieve the goals set out in the MDGs if we don’t take urgent action,’ Paul Cook says.

‘We must see a tangible set of actions which can be measured, like replenishment of the Global Fund which combats HIV, TB and malaria, and specific targeting of aid on water and sanitation so that children can live past their fifth birthday without dying of diarrhoea or water-borne diseases.’

And one of the most significant contributions the UK Government could take, according to Tearfund, would be to tackle climate change.

‘Climate change is often the elephant in the room when discussing global poverty,’ says Paul Cook.

‘We must accept that our planet is already changing, and that the effects are being felt most by some of the poorest communities in the world.  We must see a commitment to new funding to help people adapt to the effects of a changing climate, which should be additional to money already committed to overseas development assistance.’

For interview requests call Katie Harrison, Media Team on +447949181414 or call Paul Cook direct on +447711044167.

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:

  • World leaders publicly endorsing the Sanitation & Water for All initiative
  • World leaders pledging sufficient finance to replenish the Global Fund to tackle HIV, TB and malaria
  • The UK Government speaking out on climate change, which is often the ‘elephant in the room’ when discussing global poverty, and the need for a global deal through the UNFCCC with additional finance to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries
  • A robust accountability framework, with civil society participation, to ensure progress on promises made at the summit

The Millennium Development Goals

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

Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency, and a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).