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 231.

    Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness.

    George Bernard Shaw

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    184. Neil:Your reply to 10.banner was outrageous & tasteless & typical right wing garbage, punish the poor,sick & disabled & then come up with dribble about the left

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    I'm not quite sure why Labour being in power gave the finance boys the obligation to rip us all off. If they can't be trusted, why do the conservatives not put them under lock and key? I'm perfectly happy to think that both Labour and Tories gave the bankers green lights and no limits

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    Why on earth are the UN asking for the opinion of a man who can't even look after the poor in his own country!

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    The president of Liberia? Who only relaxed anti-gay laws under severe international pressure (i.e the EU was going to cut all aid to the country) and launched a tirade against western states and lgbt citizens. She's a disgrace and I would be ashamed to be at the same table as her.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    And yet, a certain bank that is under investigation in numerous countries for 'manipulating' interest rates is mow under investigation for 'manipulating' the energy markets. They are also under investigation for bribery and fraud in a number of countries!
    Now Cameron, instead of hosting meetings on the outcomes of greed and plundering, how about hosting a meeting that eliminates the cause instead

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.


    I read your links and you didn't answer my question in any of them. The people attended food bank, do they smoke have mobiles and Sky? I'm going to guess yes. As for the 'living' wage, employers are not forced to pay it they have to pay the 'MINIMUM' wage.
    @176 you don't know me how can you judge? I see you have enough money for an internet connection, I could judge on that but won't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    To those on the left who whinge that Cameron is creating poverty in the UK.

    If you mean he is cracking down on large, deliberately welfare-dependent families, or non-jobbers in the public sector, then great, bring it on.

    But if you mean those who are struggling on low wages - don't whinge, you were all for the mass immigration that pushed our workers out of the market and reduced wages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    "Share the world's wealth fairly".
    A great ideal. But, with millionaires like Cameron and those of his ilk governing the the world, I can't see this happening some time soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Just a few stats on UK poverty
    17-22% of population live below poverty line
    3.9m single people live below poverty line
    22-28% of children live below poverty line

    And we are a supposedly developed country. Poor people have a much higher marginal propensity to spend, if they had more money, they'd spend most of it boosting the economy. Solving the poverty problem is in all of our interests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    I thought the policy in the West was to give loans to poor countries to allow them to buy things they don't need from western companies. Loans offered at terms which make them impossible to repay and so guarantee a steady income of interest payments. Foreign aid is given as a bribe to allow officials in said countries to cream off the cash into foreign bank accounts while the population starves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    1 Hour ago
    I watched this morning the president of Kenya stating that Britain 'Should continue to pay billions to Africa after 200 years shouldn't Africans be able to stand on their own?
    ** Indeed. We should stop allowing Africans to rely on aid whilst not doing anything to help themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    I suspect they think they are already on the right road.

    You don't raise the bar, you lower it.

    By using austerity to create parity amongst the overwhelming majority, then poverty, per se, has been solved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    I wonder, will he donate any of his own money? Oh dear me, no, he will increase taxes for the rest of us to feed those who have no jobs due to all the cuts he introduced.

    You can fool some people some of the time, but not everyone all the time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    159.Some Lingering Fog

    @142. corncobuk

    53. Andy

    Which is why food banks are seeing a record number of people coming through their doors


    Who would have thought that free food would be so popular!

    You have no idea how food banks work do you?

    You have to be referred and given vouchers for a limited period of help.

    Its not like a free Asda.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    I despair of the bitterness and spite of the left whingers on here. Your "boys" on the front benches have as many, if not more, millions in the bank as the Conservative front bench. They also did so much damage to the wealth of this country with years of mismanagement. Deregulating the banks. The labour machine enabled the banking crisis, broke us all, but smugly sit and blame the Conservatives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    So many on here confusing the terms relative poverty and absolute poverty. This debate is about absolute poverty which affects us all in this globally dependent economy. We don't have absolute poverty in the UK so cheap digs at the wealth of our leaders misses the point. Even the unemployed here would seem to be rich to some in the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    184 Neil. Totally agree. HYS wont let me vote you up. Many of the rich worked by opening businesses,going without for yrs. Some of course not. Labour encouraged laziness by giving to the work shy,more money for more children,this needs & must stop. We need to bring back responsibility for actions inc having too many children. Some wont want to admit Labour MPs very wealthy ie Blair 4/5 properties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    "DFID spent more than £20million last year on hotels, including many five-star ones. Next month it will open a 40,000 sq ft Indian branch office in Delhi with 18 meeting rooms and 280 desks — even though the then International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said last year DFID would not be in India for “very much longer”.

    Utter corruption on a grand scale with our money!

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    First they need to decide on a definition of 'poverty'. That in itself will probably take them at least a dozen meetings, held across the world, at a cost of millions. Then, after much hand-wringing and head-scratching, they'll come to the conclusion that poverty is relative and here to stay. And it's rather ironic, coming at a time when Dave is plunging some families into 'poverty' with his cuts!


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