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 331.

    So you don't think pensioners dying from the cold are poor?

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    This is indeed a sick joke. Has he no shame at all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    @89.Mr Loser
    Well surely its their own fault for being so lazy, like you so easily say about the poor of our country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    As odious as I find Blair there is a big difference between earnt and inherited wealth"

    So no doubt you'll criticise the Miliband brothers, who even altered their father's will
    I'm in favour of a high inheritance tax for all.
    BTW I havent voted Lab since 2003 so I'm no Milliband fanboy.
    I have no Party allegiance.
    I oppose any ruling elite.
    I'm a democrat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    280 Flashman

    Yet you and millions like you complain when prices go up and are not prepared to pay the going rate for goods and services. Yet you still demand high wages to buy stuff you don't really need.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    Here's food for thought, given corporation's vast influence over western governments to the stage they legislate in favor of big blocks of business instead of it's citizens how much money do these big companies pour into poor countries to prop up corrupt parties and politicians to make sure they keep resources out of the public good and keep low wages ect?

    Cameron is merely posturing as usual.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    Your comment is not true. I don't give charity to people knocking on doors, I give to charities I choose at a time and place I choose. Just because you don't get a response on the doorstep doesn't mean they don't give to charity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    "Cameron has been asked by the UN to look into how poverty in developing countries should be tackled after the year 2015."
    Has Cameron taken a leaf out of Blair's book?....don't spend too much time on the UK's problems; get your CV organised and get your name circulating with an eye to post - Downing Street lucrative "advisor" jobs. A big UN role should reap rewards...around 2015.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    AXE ALL Foreign Aid.
    It should be top of the list for easiest budgetary cuts for No.10.

    The UK is in a ballooning debt crisis, rising unemployment, & increasing poverty levels within our boarders.

    Where is it written that No.10 is allowed to take ur money to give to foreign strangers?!

    Foreign aid is the taking of money from poor people here, & giving it to wealthy politicians there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    274.Weare Just Universaldust - the UK is in fact the seventh richest country in the world with a GDP of $2,290,000,000,000 per annum. Yes we have a temporary problem with a deficit caused by government support of the failed capitalist system during the crash. However, the richest in the UK are getting richer whilst the general population are paying for the crash with plummeting living standards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    Real poverty needs to be dealt with on a global basis if it is to be eradicated however, the aid given by the richer nations must be directed at right targets, not diverted into the bank accounts of pocket lining despots.
    Aid where possible should be given in kind not money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    Is this some sort of sick joke? A millionaire Prime Minster hosting a summit on poverty??
    People like DC havnt the faintest idea what its like to be poor so shouldn`t be part of this kind of debate .The Tories have ALWAYS kept people poor and still are doing it to this day.What we need is to stop worshipping greed and look for ways to make society much fairer.
    Fat chance of that happening though!

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    David could set a good example at the meeting if he announced that the £40,000 per year handout out to his rich friends"

    Someone on £1m p.a. probably misses the £100k+ they were better off under Labour in 2009-10 than they are now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Millionaire politicians gathering together to discuss poverty. Oh the irony!. There's enough hardship occurring in this country now, but it's more glamorous and exciting for our politicians to jet around the world, staying in expensive hotels, being wined and dined in luxury and giving our money out to foreign governments than it is to visit any run-down inner city areas in the UK.

  • Comment number 317.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    What surprises me is that even if MP's object to the spending of the Government and win a vote in Parliament, it is not binding to the PM. Cameron can spend what he wants, where he wants,how he wants. How can that be democratic. Cameron can give whatever he wants to corrupt African leaders. Is it not time they stood on their own two feet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    I am no supported of Blair or Cameron but the difference in their wealth is important and in your note Blair earned his money (I accept in questionable ways) Cameron inherited it (The jobs he has had would not have paid for the houses he owns). It is the inherited wealth/privelege that is the divisive force, while earned wealth should be admired.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    @281. rememberdurruti

    What we do have in place though is the means to achieve this, the Tory led 'coalition' Remember, starvation is being held off with free food handouts and, rough sleeping by charities.
    In a country that spends over £200 billion each year on welfare payments there is no need for anyone to go cold and hungry.

    Politicians and charities are the problem, not the solution.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.


    "Malcolm Fishfinger
    It is interesting to see people criticising Cameron for being wealthy ... His riches are dwarfed by Tony Blair.
    As odious as I find Blair there is a big difference between earnt and inherited wealth"

    So no doubt you'll criticise the Miliband brothers, who even altered their father's will after his death to ensure they inherit the most from his wealth?

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    How can Cameron host a meeting on poverty when he is one of the main causes? He has no credability whatsoever.


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