World has chance to end extreme poverty for good - Cameron

David Cameron, flanked by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Mr Cameron said all countries had an obligation to contribute to the global fight against poverty

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David Cameron has said there is a "real opportunity" to end extreme global poverty within the next few decades.

The prime minister said politicians had been talking about the goal for years but "this generation" had a chance of fulfilling the long-held ambition.

He was speaking after hosting a meeting of politicians from around the world to discuss anti-poverty strategies.

Mr Cameron has been asked by the UN to look into how poverty in developing countries should be tackled after 2015.

On Thursday, he co-chaired the first meeting of the United Nations panel, along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

'Great progress'

After the meeting, attended by 26 countries, Mr Cameron said "great progress" had been made since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals in the late 1990s but the international community must aspire to do even more.

All countries had obligations to do their bit to help meet the anti-poverty targets, he added - citing the need for the UK and other wealthier countries to be transparent about how their aid budget are spent.

"The principle aim of the panel should be finishing the job of ending extreme poverty...That is something that politicians have been talking about for a while but for the first time I think this generation really has the opportunity to do it."


The process begun in London should be completed by May when the "High Level Panel" reports to the UN secretary-general.

The London meeting is the first of three to be held in the capital cities of the three co-chairs, representing a spread of countries in terms of wealth.

Between the meetings, a separate process will go on to put ideas on paper, which one seasoned observer described as a "massive fight" over what should be in the final plan, who pays and how independent the successors to the MDGs will be of the UN.

Progress on the Millennium Development Goals has been patchy.

The UN says that for the first time the number of people living in extreme poverty is falling in every region of the world but the first MDG, cutting in half the proportion of people living in poverty, has been reached mainly because of the economic growth of China.

The Millennium Development Goals, set to be completed by 2015, are pledges by UN member countries to increase living standards in poorer parts of the world.

The first of them - reducing poverty among some of the very poorest - has been achieved, due largely to big increases in income in recent years in China and India. But attempts to reach other goals have been less successful.

Mr Cameron said there needed to be a renewed focus on tackling the causes of poverty - highlighting the importance of reducing corruption, promoting the rights of women and minorities and backing freedom of expression and association.

The panel will meet again in Monrovia and Jakarta next year, before reporting to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

Most of the other attendees of the London gathering are ministers from foreign governments or heads of economic committees.

The Indonesian president, who is on a three-day state visit to Britain, said the UN panel had a "common vision" over how to respond to the challenges facing the developed and developing world.

"I believe that poverty eradication can only be achieved by raising the living standards of the poor around the world.

"This can be done by creating job opportunities and providing accessible and affordable health services, education facilities, housing, clean water and sanitation."

BBC international development correspondent David Loyn said that in finding a successor for the Millennium Development Goals, China and some African countries will want to stop what they see as further interference into governance.

But the big donor nations in the West will need guarantees of transparency and better accountability for governments who receive aid, if aid is to continue, our correspondent added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    "Mr Cameron has been asked by the UN to look into how poverty in developing countries should be tackled after the year 2015."

    So he's making plans for the next Prime Minister then, because Cameron sure as heck won't be around after 2015.

    Globalisation is being pushed on us from all sides now (except UKIP). Helping poor nations is great but not when our own society is being degraded via austerity

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    As a disciple of Adam Smith I support the PMs adhererance to the 0.7% aid commitment and his focus on global poverty. No doubt it is morally right but beyond that the development of the global economy enriches us all.
    Pump priming and pressure on poor countries to meet ethical and legal standards of government work. Look at Tanzania or Botswana compared to Zimbabwe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    There aren't that many really poor people in this country, and most of those don't have a good work ethic. Rememeber the size of the UK welfare budget.

    Poverty in other parts of this world is off the scale - millions of people and children die of hunger and treatable disease (that's real poverty). So Cameron is to be congratulated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    The UK government spends more of the GDP on welfare 17% (2012) then almost any other services (Public Sector Pensions is the highest at 18%). The Aid program runs at 0.5%!!
    We are talking about real poverty here not the perceived poverty that most people whine about!

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Why doesn't he and rich pals give up the extra money they will get from the tax break they've been given, wasn't it £40,000 each? Or maybe 10% of their worth.

    No instead they will raise taxes for the lower to middle classes to pay for it per usual!

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    If anyone can tell them it's Dave...How to produce poverty within a population seems to be his forte! As a sick GP has found out, all you have to be silly enough to do to put you on the quick road to poverty is fall ill & then find out it's almost impossible to get any financial support! If someone highly educated finds that then who else has any chance? Poverty? YES, Dave's an expert!

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    As distasteful as the thought of rich people discussing 'the poor' from the comfort of a Downing Street lunch is, it is necessary. There is poverty in this country too though and people I expect will die this winter from being too scared to turn the heating up. We should be careful about lecturing other nations.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Just imagine, if one multi-billionaire gave away 1 million to 1000 people, there would be 1000 new millionaires and if they gave away 1000 each to 1000 of the the worlds poorest they would share it with their families and probably alleviate the circumstance of over 2 billion people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    74.Have your say Rejected
    3 Minutes ago
    I am on benefits, I have a car, which is used as little as possible, but I don't have an i-phone or tablet, just an old computer which I purchased before I was made redundant.

    . You are unbelievable. I have never claimed benefits in my life. I don't have a car, iphone or tablet yet I don't think I am poor. Get rid of the chip on your shoulder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Only way to eradicate poverty: education, education, education. It is a myth that countries like India, China, Brazil have no "poverty" - they do. The West choose to use the crude measure of GDP as only yardstick. Wealth here is so unevenly distributed. eg India NEEDS a GDP of 6% just to stand still. Population control through education only real answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    @53 Andy
    You can't fool me Andy. Your actually David Cameron, aren't you.?

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Politicians have been talking about world poverty for as long as anyone can remember. There have been conferences, initiatives, reviews, protocols, panels and committees....and still there is world poverty.

    Either the Politicians are all stupid and inept or maybe it just suits their agenda to keep the poor in poverty?

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    I hope this does not mean that we will be pouring yet more millions of our borrowed money into the coffers of corrupt Third World leaders or worse still, the UN!

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    The world, planet earth, does not have the time for all the worlds populations to evolve & eventually live sustainably & with sustainable population.

    Erradicating poverty may have moral sentiment but it is unachievable and factually damages our own nations future.

    Improving others health/wealth & wellbeing so they can directly compete with our own existinal challenges is endemically suicidal

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    it is the right thing to do....However by helping others which we have been trying to help for years and years to no avail is like keeping a fire lit with petrol.....expensive, dangerous and unsustainable. The places we help out are normally corrupt and at a point beyond help, Do you think grease would have been bailed out if it was 100% going to fail. Lets fix our system before it's beyond repair

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Please. Aid is not a suitcase full of cash flown to a foreign airport. Dave's friends will be doing very nicely out of Aid, as are the Professionals working in the Charity Industry. How about doing something to put us all in a position to make donations?

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    48. blackie1947...

    If you are unemployed, having a car means you can travel further to look for jobs, mobile phones can be used by deaf people to communicate with the outside world, and most job adverts are found online. I am on benefits, I have a car, which is used as little as possible, but I don't have an i-phone or tablet, just an old computer which I purchased before I was made redundant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    A question for DC to ask the heads of poor countries - Why are you lot living a life of luxury being driven round in your shiny Mercedes while your people are starving?

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.


    It’s like asking Jimmy Sevile to host a meeting on how to prevent child abuse


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