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 311.

    Tory voters are MEAN. They are selfish. I collect for the Blind and i live in a Tory constituency. It is true, a tory would not give a blind person a light.

    Allan - this is shocking. Please give the name of your charity so we can donate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    The only aid to third world countries should be for contraception - too many humans, too little planet

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    David could set a good example at the meeting if he announced that the £40,000 per year handout out to his rich friends, and party doners, was being transferred to those in the UK in most need.
    Poverty will not be eradicated until we develop a new national/international financial system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Does no-one else see the irony of a load of heavyweight politicians flying across the world for a get-together over high-class canapes and wine to discuss world poverty?

    It's a lifestyle none of them know nothing about and probably do more to perpetuate through their interference.

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    Everything Scameron knows about poverty could be written within the word limit of one HYS entry.

    Go for it Scameron. Prove me wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    @ 259 Socilaist Apocalypse....
    "My reply is Not one Penny I do not want 1 penny stolen from me to be sent to Pakistan Kenya or anywhere else for that matter. So Govnt anything you take against my wishes is Theft .. pure and simple !"
    Why not pop down to your local cop shop and report it? Then some nice people in white coats can come and help you with some medication...

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.


    Aid not being wasted? they are spending 600 million on consultants, mainly British and last year spent 20 mill on 5 star hotels, what do you consider that? Money well spent? What has it achieved exactly....

    Dress it up how you like, already rich people become much richer syphoning of cash meant for aid and Cameron and his cronies have done zilch to halt it. Why is that..

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    Difficult to combat poverty in a world of selfish greed and vanity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    Aid 'to show off'?

    Considering our history (of gain if not plunder), & our ambition to see all profit (in global prosperity), should be 'giving more', not just (measured, practicable) financial transfer toward 'traditional' - water-supply, famine-response, disease-action, literacy & numeracy - but for education (home & abroad) on genuine =democracy, 'no kidding'

    Cameron, to lead??

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    To those using UK OAP's struggling with heating etc in the UK and think this is a sign of absolute poverty, may be pause and spare a thought for those in Africa where average life expectancy is still a little over 50, that's poverty. They dream of having house, heating is a luxury!

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    @286. Some Lingering Fog
    I am not trying to knock absolute poverty as a measure of the extremes of poverty, but to say that poverty doesn't exist in the UK just highlights your ignorance of a growing sector of the populace. I would suggest you took a tour around some of the more deprived parts of the country before suggesting that it does not exist due to the welfare state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    perhaps we should all refuse to pay our taxes,then they may take notice of us low lifes whom they supposedly serve,after all the govt cant put us all in jail for non payment,revolutionary tactics may be the only way to make w'minster see that we are getting pretty chuffed off with politicians ludicrous ideas,time to act people

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    Why is he attending this event? He can`t even sort out the most basic poverty issues in his own country. Austerity measures to make the poorest pay for the billionaire gambling debts

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    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?"

    Well, what exactly do you know about the kind of poverty they have in the third world? I expect to someone there, you look like you have silver spoons coming out of every orifice

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    275.Malcolm Fishfinger

    It is interesting to see people criticising Cameron for being wealthy on this feed. His riches are dwarfed by Tony Blair, who made a fortune while wrecking the country.
    As odious as I find Blair there is a big difference between earnt and inherited wealth. (I use the work 'earnt' very loosely here).

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    Where in the UK constitution does it say that Westminster has the power to take money from UK citizens & give it to foreign strangers?

    The UK doesn't even have a constitution. So where does this power come from? Nowhere.

    If u want to engage in charity urself (a noble undertaking), use ur own money, not someone else's! U get not moral credit for taking & giving away other peoples' money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    "Cameron! hosting Poverty meeting? you're having a laugh. The man doesn't understand the meaning of "poverty"."

    So who else would you suggest hosts this meeting? Miliband? Brown? Blair? The choice would be between Conservative or Labour Millionaires.

    On the basis that under the previous Labour Governments poverty in the UK actually increased, then I'd choose Cameron.

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    11. HaveIGotThatWrong
    Just look at the world's rich countries - how did they become rich ? Not by being given foreign aid, that's for sure.

    Historically through the genocide and subordination of indigenous populations and the stealing of their resources

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    The way east europeans are taking all our work and exporting their wages back to eastern europe, it wont belong before their is real poverty in this country.Cameron has not got a clue about poverty, because he has never had to go short, or choose between one thing or another.Are the stinking rich in our world making any contribution towards poverty?? NO!!!


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