David Cameron hails poverty strategy roadmap

 

A United Nations (UN) commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 is one of the key recommendations from an international panel co-chaired by David Cameron.

The Prime Minister called for a "new global partnership" to tackle some of the biggest problems facing the developing world as the panel's report was handed over to the UN.

Other aims proposed in the report include securing improvements in women's rights, achieving universal access to water and ensuring food security.

The report contains proposals for a new framework for international development following the expiry of the 2015 deadline for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs sought to halve extreme poverty, defined as people earning less than 1.25 US dollars (83p) a day, but the panel called for a more ambitious goal over the following 15 years.

Mr 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 panel's report, which was published last night, includes 12 measurable goals, but will disappoint aid organisations by not including an explicit commitment to reduce income inequality.

As part of efforts to empower women, the report calls for an end to child marriage and equal rights to open bank accounts and own property.

The panel also recommends bringing together development and environmental agendas, with targets for reducing food waste, slowing deforestation and protecting ecosystems.

The report stressed the need for countries to give citizens confidence in their governments by promoting the rule of law, free speech, transparency and cracking down on corruption - themes Mr Cameron has referred to as the "golden thread" of development and lobbied hard for action on.

The report said: "We should ensure that no person - regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status - is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities."

The report, which will form the basis for two years of negotiation on the agenda to replace the MDGs, added: "We can be the first generation in human history to end hunger and ensure that every person achieves a basic standard of wellbeing.

"There can be no excuses. This is a universal agenda, for which everyone must accept their proper share of responsibility."

A Government spokesman said: "These goals and targets are a bold and strong set of proposals.

"They get to grips with tackling the causes of poverty - weak institutions, corruption and a lack of basic freedoms - as well as setting out an ambitious vision of ending things like hunger, illiteracy and violence against women.

"This is vital work because Britain cannot compete, thrive and lead in isolation from the rest of the world."

The Prime Minister was chosen by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to chair the panel alongside Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Because Mr Cameron is on holiday in Ibiza, International Development Secretary Justine Greening was in New York for the presentation of the report, a move criticised by Labour.

Shadow international development secretary Ivan Lewis said: "What should have been a prestigious opportunity for Britain to show leadership on the world stage has been squandered by the Prime Minister."

Charities generally welcomed the report, although some expressed disappointment over its failure to address the wealth gap.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive officer of Save the Children, said last night: "Today's report outlines exactly what is needed to eliminate extreme poverty within a generation.

"It envisages a world where no child dies of preventable causes, no child goes to bed hungry and every child grows up in a sustainable and more prosperous future.

"This may sound too good to be true, but by building on recent progress and with the right political commitment it's entirely achievable.

"It is now up to all UN member states to commit to these world-changing and ambitious measures without watering them down or losing the focus of the report.

"Critically, we must sustain our ambition, human focus and attention in helping the hardest-to-reach children, as captured in the panel's report."

The high-level panel report must deliver recommendations that are fit for purpose and in line with their vision of a more equitable and sustainable world, he added.

However, Katy Wright, Oxfam senior policy adviser, was sceptical that the objectives would be met.

"We're pleased the PM is pushing the world to sign up to tough targets to end extreme poverty by 2030 and tackle climate change," she said.

"But any future goals will be undermined without action to ensure that wealth is spread more fairly.

"Billions of people risk being left behind by economic growth, and in a world of finite resources the wealthiest cannot continue to expect more and more without hurting the rest."

Helen Dennis, Christian Aid's Senior Adviser on Poverty and Inequality, said: "The panel has made an encouraging start on a new global master plan to tackle poverty. Its recommendations on promoting women's equality are especially strong.

"Recommendations on protecting the environment, which include the phasing out of subsidies for fossil fuels, are also welcome.

"We are also pleased to see a reference to tackling illicit finance flows and tax evasion, which will be especially important for long-term financing of sustainable development. Global action in both developed and developing countries will be needed to make sure that poor communities don't lose out from tax-dodging.

"Disappointingly, the Panel has shied away from suggesting action that could address increasing economic inequality in many countries. This is an awkward subject for some but sustainable development will only be achieved if we reduce the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

"The Panel's report is a good one. We hope that governments around the world will now build on this work as they negotiate a new global plan to replace the Millennium Development Goals."

PA

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