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 251.

    Yet again the right wing ranters are confusing fact with their vitriolic bias. Labour did not 'cause' the financial collapse here or globally...
    Lots of banks and financial institutions are mentioned, nothing about the Labour party.
    You have to be referred to a free food charity by certain agencies who are concerned for your families welfare!

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    I believe this is one of the few things that Cameron believes in, it would be so easy to bow to pressure from the Daily Mail and his backbenchers to cut this. 0.7% of GDP is affordable
    It's a pity he doesn't have the same feel for the "poor" in the UK, despite the deficit helping both isn't mutually exclusive.Deficit reduction should target those that can afford it not those that can't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    Dave is poor, very poor!

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    Global poverty is an issue for us. Extremists of all factions draw their army's from the poor and uneducated. What we need is to look at the governments of the country's where poverty exists. Most of them are self-serving and inept.

    Reform, not money, is the answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Funny how the tax contributions from us are readily dished out around the world in an uncontrolled manner usually causing more problems than it solves.
    Then consider the global corporates stripping the wealth from the these countries for little in return. The attitude of our leaders in controling their self interest is laughable only mug tax payers are expected to save the world.
    Go figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    I think the elite/politicians of developing nations are the real cause of poverty on their own people.

    The African Union appears to be a quango and just another talking shop. There are African states who have a food surplus, yet won't trade or donate part of that surplus with a neighbour - why is that?

    India is also an enormous continent with different States who fail to help each other too?

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I begrudge my tax pounds going to idle layabouts in this country.

    I do not begrudge my tax pounds going to help people who are starving and who would, if given the opportunity, probably be prepared to work so they could provide for themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Charity starts at home Mr Cameron.
    I sit here freezing as I can't afford to put the heating on...
    I blame you and your predecessors for this situation....

    This is akin to allowing Dracula to chair a meeting on blood banks!

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    Of course the poor are just criminals, working class girls get pregnant just to claim benefits and those people in wheel chairs are just work shy scroungers. It is time the Tories brought back the workhouse and neutered the underclass .......................... Oh I forgot they already have with the full support of the Laborious party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    ok so how the heck would a bloke who was born with a Silver Spoon shoved up a dark place have a clue about Poverty?

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    perhaps our esteemed leaders,opposition & sidekicks should take a trip to glasgow,edinburgh,newcastle,middlesborough,sheffield,leeds,bolton.liverpool,bristol,exeter,birmingham,coventry,portsmouth,southampton,cardiff,swansea,in fact any city or town in the uk guaranteed they will find poverty,families living out of bins etc, get a grip politicians,get a grip

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Very hypocritical. You just judged 100k people smoke and have sky and visit food banks and then told 176 not to judge you! You may note that a lot of people who are visiting food banks are employed. You can only get refered to a food bank if you are assesed as needing free food. I have no idea if they smoke or have sky, pretty sure the pensioners who die from cold don't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    224.The Bloke

    Thatcher's regime created/encoaraged the "incapacity benefit" culture in the 80's, she also put 3 million on the dole. whilst massively increasing mass immigration to fill low paid jobs. Don't let the facts get in the way of an old fashioned, predicatable, right wing rant. Thatcher was a Tory in case you do not know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    How about linking aid to reductions in the birth rate. This year's saved child is tomorrow's parent of several kids.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    You confuse relative and absolute poverty. The poverty line is a moving measure relative to average incomes in a country, even if you had a socialist utopia with everyone near equal there would still be people below the poverty line as it's a relative measure NOT an absolute measure. We don't have absolute poverty in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    Perhaps he could start by looking seriously into our own countries poverty,poverty that he and his hench men have created.
    I cannot understand why our leaders think so much more about others before their own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    The UK is one of the richest countries in the world. Can our compassion for the world's poorest be so exhausted as to begrudge 0.5% of our wealth to help save the lives of millions of starving and dispossessed people? Yes, corrupt governments have responsibility but so, I think, do we. Charity may begin at home but it doesn't end there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    The reality is it's just a bunch of politicos plumping up their own future financial cussions....Blair did exactly the same sort of thing & after his undoubted disasterous time in the hot seat he became what he is today. VERY RICH (estimated @ a personal £60 million) with an estimated anual income of £Millions!...They don't even know what the word 'poverty' means!

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    So Cameron is a rich bas---d who is making people here poorer and has the effrontery to try and materially help the world's poor.
    He strikes me as someone making a principled stance of having the UK meet its promised level (Blair) of aid contribution knowing that the solution to the the Country's problems rest in trading with an expanding world economy.
    Its good economic policy for them and us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    What is he looking for ideas on how to increase it in the UK?, Cameron yet again playing the big man with our tax revenue, cut to UK, but give it away abroad to Africa, India,Pakistan etc, Europe as well.


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