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Kiwis take a stand to mark ‘World Poverty Day’


Kiwis take a stand to mark ‘World Poverty Day’

The Art of Living (AOL) Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Millennium Campaign, is hosting a free public event in Wellington’s Civic Square to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (Friday, October 17th).

The event, ‘Mission Green Earth, Stand Up and Take Action’  − ‘Stand Up’, for short − is part of a global UN Millennium Campaign to mobilise 100 million people worldwide to ‘stand up’ and demand governments do more to eradicate poverty in the developing world.

The event will feature music from local reggae band IROOTZ and speeches by MPs Charles Chauvel, Annette King, Stephen Franks, Sue Kedgley and Keith Locke. The public will have the chance to get up close and personal with politicians when MPs serve up free soup, donated by the Salvation Army, from 11.30am. MPs will serve the soup from the Sallies’ van.

Organiser Meena Satishkumar says “At ‘Stand Up’, we hope MPs will address the poverty crisis and outline how their parties would end poverty in the developing world”.

“While ‘Stand Up’ will be lively and fun we will be conveying a serious message. The government needs to work harder meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) − eight global poverty eradication targets agreed at the UN summit in 2000”, says Ms Satishkumar.

The MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all 189 members of the United Nations and leading development institutions.

According to New Zealand Council for International Development (CID) executive director David Culverhouse, while progress towards the MDGs has been made, many countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, are expected to fall well short of these targets. Poverty still blights the lives of far too many of the world’s people: Over 1.2 billion people survive on less than US$1 per day and more than 10 million children a year die of preventable diseases.

“While around US$700 billion is being used to bail out wealthy bankers and financial institutions in the United States; at last weeks’ United Nations summit on the MDGs only US$16 billion was pledged for worldwide poverty eradication. Whilst $16 billion may sound like a serious commitment, it actually works out at less than $13 per person living below the poverty line. More is needed” says Mr Culverhouse.

Stand Against Poverty events will take place across five continents on 17-19th of October 2008. Last year, over 43.7 million people took part (see www.standagainstpoverty.org for more details). This year the campaign hopes that over 100 million people will take part worldwide and break the current Guinness World Record.

In Wellington, Kiwis will take a pledge, to be read by the Hon. Annette King, to help end poverty by 2015. The event is supported by World Vision, Amnesty International, Save the Children, CID, The Salvation Army, Trade Aid, Oxfam, Dev-Zone and the Peace Foundation.

ends

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