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Friday, December 9, 2016
CAFOD calls for poverty to remain top of the UN Summit agenda
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 CAFOD has expressed fears that the forthcoming United Nations World Summit is heading for failure, as a consequence of drastic amendments to the draft communiqué proposed by the United States less than three weeks before it is due to start. "It was not a great document to start with," said George Gelber, Head of Public Policy, "because it does not look at progress or the lack of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals agreed and set five years ago. Now the proposed US amendments write them out of the script altogether." The agency is calling on world leaders who will be attending the Summit to make sure that the issues of poverty remain centre stage, that is, infectious diseases, environmental degradation, food and human insecurity, human rights violations and crime, as well as terrorism. Five years into the new millennium, more than one billion people still live below the extreme poverty line of one dollar a day, and 20,000 people die from the causes of poverty every day. According to the UN's latest assessment Sub-Saharan Africa, taken, as a whole will not be able to meet a single Millennium target. The goal of free primary education for girls and boys, set for 2015, at the present rate of progress will not be able to reach its goa until 2130. George Gelber, said: "Rich nations have a responsibility to assist poorer nations tackle their poverty issues. It is essential these countries are supported by the necessary finance and polices and, above all, to mobilise the political will to ensure that this collective promise to the world's poor is not broken. "World leaders should not allow the conference to shift towards a narrower focus dominated by terrorism and questions about possible proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The most dangerous weapon of mass destruction in the past few decades has been poverty. "The Millennium Development Goals are the most broadly recognized and globally accepted benchmarks of development progress in history. Developing nations have written their own national strategies to ensure that they aim to meet them, and have shown commitments to also become more accountable and transparent. But, the world has allowed progress to slip. "CAFOD believes that a serious commitment to the Millennium Development Goals will mean rich nations agreeing to increase aid, cancel debt, and rewrite unfair trade rules. These are the key aims of the Make Poverty History campaign."
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