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Need to focus on poverty in the Pacific

2 June 2005

Live 8 concerts raise the need to focus on poverty in the Pacific

While the world focuses on poverty in Africa, the Council for International Development says that in New Zealand we need to also focus on extreme poverty close to home.

Next month’s global Live 8 concert will focus world attention on the plight of poverty-stricken Africa 20 years after the first Live Aid concerts.

Council for International Development Executive Director, Rae Julian says a recent report on global poverty levels shows that the Pacific is off track for nearly every one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. These include goals such as reducing child mortality, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, and increasing access to safe drinking water. Only sub-Saharan Africa is further behind on these goals than the Pacific.

Increased aid essential to achieving these goals.

In the Budget, the Government announced it would spend 0.27 percent of national income on overseas development aid in 2005-06, rising to 0.28 percent in 2008.

“This is a long way short of the 0.7 percent target that developed countries, including New Zealand, will need to contribute by 2015 in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals.”

Back in 2000, New Zealand signed up to the series of targeted goals aimed at significantly reducing global poverty.

“The recent decisions by 15 European countries to increase aid levels to 0.51 percent of national income by 2010 and to 0.7 percent by 2015 is a major breakthrough.”

“Now all but six of the world’s most developed countries have set timetables for increasing their overseas aid levels to the 0.7 percent target by 2015. New Zealand is one of the few countries that haven’t.”

“This leaves us increasingly isolated globally on this issue.”

Ms Julian says the Live 8 concerts will be a big boost to the battle against poverty.

“It is clear that once again, people will be calling on their governments to contribute more in international development assistance, along with working towards fairer trade systems and debt cancellation.”

“Let’s hope the New Zealand Government takes note of this and understands that global poverty is an issue that people care about here in New Zealand as well.”

ENDS

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