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 511.

    "506.Socialist Apocalypse The Thieves Amongst Us"

    Whist I've actually *lived* on such an estate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 510.

    I can't take this seriously when I read about children in this country turning up to school hungry and the school having to feed them. //

    And I find those reports a bit suspect. You see plenty of kids at fast food and coffee shops, and we have more of a problem with obesity than underfeeding.

    How much of this is due to lack of will than money. And those 8 kid families

  • rate this

    Comment number 509.

    @481. koolkarmauk

    When you can answer your own questions you will then be qualified to ask

    What questions?

    482. Ex Tory Voter

    It doesn't work like that. Trust me, I've been homeless.

    Then we need to change how it works

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.

    Stop corruption at the top, stop the warring, stop tribal craziness and throw out religion. Education is needed and with this teach birth control.

    Poverty has always existed and always will...just the same as there are always the wealthy. I see this is the first meeting in a series and already they (wealthy) have planned another meeting somewhere lovely for next year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    And whats the odds on them coming to no solid answers ..and having to meet somewhere in the sunshine and have another meeting about a meeting infinitum....These folks really do know how to spend our money !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    499. Ex Tory
    Now that explains a great deal

    I can enlighten you there the writer of that series comes from Burnley Lancs. the people and many of the situations are directly from his own observations and knowledge from the housing estate he was brought up on.. a case of comedy reflecting real life but not so funny.

    I know him personally

  • rate this

    Comment number 505.

    'UN poverty meeting to be hosted by Cameron'

    Now there's irony.

  • rate this

    Comment number 504.

    I thought this meeting was about combatting poverty, not promoting it.
    Cameron's cuts haven't taken full effect yet and more people are below the decency threshold in this country than when the man came to power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    Discover David´s new side of social care for the poorest!

    He is actually not known for being so in the light of the recent tough austerity cuts that often hit the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    @494 I agree.

    I bet he drives a big car too. And you know what they say about that......

  • rate this

    Comment number 501.

    @ 483 "I think you miss the point ! what if there were NO Benefits ! what then ? do you still think 2.6 million would be without a Job ?"


    I think you miss the point

    If there were no benefits at all I Wouldn't give twopence for your own safety.

    Criminality would spiral out of control and everything that you purport to have worked for could disappear overnight

  • rate this

    Comment number 500.

    495. Socialist Apocalypse The Thieves Amongst Us

    "So you favour a system whereby the workers not only has to provide"...

    Most benefit recipients are in similar positions to me, I imagine, either in work or have worked, were made redundant and now on benefits. SO the idea that benefit claimants being feckless or lazy is just a rather large fallacy. Blatant propaganda aimed at dividing society

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    "495.Socialist Apocalypse The Thieves Amongst Us
    fund the'' shameless''

    So you rely on a drama/comedy ('Shameless' isn't a documentary, you do realize that?) to generate your stereotypes? Now that explains a great deal about your rather interesting view of the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    'I think you miss the point ! what if there were NO Benefits ! what then ? do you still think 2.6 million would be without a Job ?'

    You miss the point that 2.6 million 'working' in jobs that don't pay enough to live on will be doing so while being homeless and starving. One solution to this anomaly was introduced in the 1930's by a certain German corporal which used 'camps' as the solution

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    Cameron could make a start by donating some of his expensive flashy suits to Oxfam.

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    In fairness, virtually no one in the UK faces anything like 'poverty' in the sense that people here up to about the 1950s would understand it, or many people in the 'developing' world currently experience it.

    And much 'poverty' here is highly relative, and self-inflicted. Any family which chooses to have 8 kids can't blame or expect much from others, for example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    over 2 million people @

    So you favour a system whereby the workers not only has to provide for his family but also the idle feckless and cannot be bothered breeders .. a system which will ensure that the workers are made to fund the'' shameless'' and which will ensure via taxation theft they cannot look after their own due to your '' redistribution '' system .. Nice !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    @483 'Socialist Apocalypes The Thieves Amongst Us'
    I think you are just a nasty troll. Am I allowed to say that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    10 Minutes ago

    but will any really poor people be invited


    Good lord no. This is by VIP invite only and is restricted to those who are acclimatised to all that is best in life.. Can`t have the riff-raff messing up the place can we.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    "483.Socialist Apocalypse The Thieves Amongst Us
    I think you miss the point ! what if there were NO Benefits ! what then ? do you still think 2.6 million would be without a Job ?"

    There'd be 2.6m million who would have to rely on crime in one form or another to make a living. Stopping benefits would not create a single job, except for razor wire importers and installers.


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