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 731.

    I'm all for a spot of wealth redistribution so lets increase the foreign aid budget so that we can help to eradicate poverty throughout the world.

    Is anyone with me? No?

    Oh I forget, people on here are only for the redistribution of wealth if it ends up in their own pockets.


  • rate this

    Comment number 730.

    All of the tough jobs are gone from the UK to 3rd world countries- coal, steel, factory, manufacturing. We, now, in the UK, are an agency of office workers for companies exploiting 3rd world wage rates. We must tax all transactions with 3rd world countries to force the 3rd world fat cats to plough money into their infrastructure (water/drainage), education, health, and jobs for their own economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 729.

    mess 635 All for All
    "Contrast in Equal Democracy with full employment, those to feel it would only be the lazy or criminal".

    But the lazy and the criminal rise to the top, (it`s not just cream rises, but scum does too) so you still get injustice even in "equal" societies.
    Read Orwell`s "Animal farm" for your bedtime story.

  • rate this

    Comment number 728.

    What a load of old bleeding heart liberal guff. Never going to happen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 727.

    This man is just full of rubbish. Given the things he has done to people with little in this country it is obvious that he knows nothing about, and has absolutely no experience of ordinary life let alone poverty. Empty publicity moves trying to claim he really cares while he does unspeakably nasty things in this country. No time for him or them, and i almost voted Conservative last time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 726.

    #702: "You take the basic point? That we all have the makings of 'greed'?"

    Of course, indeed I suggest that there is a fundamental human characteristic that can construed as 'greed' (or, depending on your viewpoint, competitiveness or ambition or aspiration). Those fortunate enough to surpass the basic need for survival *always* want more for themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 725.

    I'm sure Albert the stuffed snake in Hague's grace and favour taxpayer maintained luxury home will understand this vanity

  • rate this

    Comment number 724.

    Jesus said "the poor will always be with you".

    Dear David - that means WITH us - not only in some far flung land

  • rate this

    Comment number 723.

    We'll never end poverty. When everyone can buy more stuff / food / heating, poverty will move to a new level. That's all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 722.

    Dkjeran @712
    Beyond repair?
    "shame on you"

    Is this how you imagine 'support to be won' in your Direct Democracy?

    Running out if time to learn, in your "30s", I fear

    Need to ask yourself, exactly why people 'fail', how even you might have failed, trying to be a 'representative' for people leaving in poverty, fear of worse, and forced 'greed'

    Try @576.

    If OK, try @598, 627, 635, 693

  • rate this

    Comment number 721.

    What a tragedy of humanity the Editors picks are tonight. Lets hang all criminals would be her choice too, if that were the topic. Please show some light in the darkness auntie BBC!

  • rate this

    Comment number 720.

    By "extreme poverty" I assume Cameron has personal experience of the Eton tuck shop.

    Don't insult us: public-school, millionare, spoilt-brat, tory-toff posh-boys.

  • rate this

    Comment number 719.


    Shame to fall out with a Democrat!

    Not alone thinking Direct Democracy. Wide disenchantment with Representative Democracy

    Rather than back to hunter-gatherer clan, or 'somehow coordinated' street-parties, complex culture needs all meaningfully 'representative' of all, through agreed income-share equality

    No 'heaven', but (asymptotic) near-approach!

    All free to be 'elite' - secure

  • rate this

    Comment number 718.

    It is impossible to overcome corruption and stupidity. UK is basically financing the Indian Navy.

    No aid should be available to nations with a standing army, when the population have not the means to live decently.

  • rate this

    Comment number 717.

    Dear David,
    I know you will be constrained by the current BBC dumming down of anything of any true political meaning, but when we are talking about people who are suffering in the world through failed political systems (not the will of the people I hasten to add), please could you sound a bit less like someone from the Ministry of Information and SAY SOMETHING MEANINGFUL

  • rate this

    Comment number 716.

    @715. paul
    It's a well known (and known to be ineffective) practice a lot of countries engage in, it is an investment in a country rather than real aid, that's why they still give India money, as these countries develop they then have solid ties with whatever regime it's under, although there are several examples of where this has come back to bite, they should call it futures, like the banks haha

  • rate this

    Comment number 715.

    Global Poverty, he thinks we can fix that does he, we cannot even fix Poverty in our capital city.
    As for global it's a nice thought but human nature is I'm afraid rank with self serving grasping nasty tendancies, the rarity is the philanthropist.
    People and power tend to end up corrupt.
    Get back to Earth Dave and tackle something you might have a shot at achieving.

  • rate this

    Comment number 714.

    You cannot eradicate poverty with money.

    It can only be done with structure that rewards work and not greed.

    A good place to start is to stop taking money from middle classes & poor people and giving it to the EC/big corporations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 713.

    At the end of the day, the ONLY way we can prevent poverty is to provide housing that is affordable for someone supporting a family on the min working wage...

    Force both parents to work long hours to pay insane amounts to a private landlord and, as a society, we will start down the route that slowly but surely leads to the sort of anarchy seen in third word countries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 712.


    I and many ordinary (plebs) people are educated enough to be able to make our own decisions. I don't feel comfortable (or free) allowing a small mostly unelected (e.g. Osbourne (2nd in history pfft) etc...) make decisions to benefit their bullington club pals, but maybe you feel you are also more special than others and this is how it should be, shame on you!!


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