Launch of global poverty movement sets challenges
Launch of global poverty movement sets challenges to world leaders
The Global Call to Action against
Poverty (GCAP), the biggest ever global mobilization to hold governments
accountable for the promises they made to eradicate poverty, was
launched today at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, expressed his
solidarity and support for the global call and delivered a speech before the
12.000 people that gathered at the Gigantinho stadium wearing white bands,
the symbol of the campaign.
The Global Call to Action against Poverty is a worldwide alliance of
hundreds of organisations. These comprise grassroots organizations, trade
unions, women's groups, non-governmental organizations, human right
advocates, international civil society and faith groups. The campaign is
calling on world leaders to fulfill their commitments on trade justice,
more and better aid and full debt cancellation. It is also demanding
transparency and accountability from all governments in their plans to
eliminate poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals.
"This should be the year in which governments keep their promises and
respond to the more than one billion people who are living in absolute
poverty, who demand justice," said Guy Ryder, GCAP representative and
General Secretary of the ICFTU, a founding member of the campaign. At the
launch today, Ryder highlighted that achieving more and better jobs for
workers, with full respect for their basic rights, as the most
important single means of increasing poor peoples' incomes and cutting poverty.
Speaking at the launch today, John Samual on behalf of GCAP said, "We
need a shift in national and international policies and agendas. At a
time when bombs, security and terror dominate the political agenda it's
imperative to bring poverty into the centre of government thinking. We
just can´t afford to keep quiet when 50,000 people die of poverty
related causes every day and the rich and the powerful chose to ignore it.
GCAP is a wake up call to people in both rich and poor countries to
mobilize and force their governments to take action."
Leaders around the world have made endless promises to end poverty. In
2000, they committed to halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 by
signing the Millennium Development Goals; to establish fair trade rules
at the World Trade Organization development round in 2001; and to end
the burden of debt that forces low income countries to pay $100 million
every day to their creditors.
"The truth is that little has been done. At the current rates of
progress, it will take more than a 100 years, not ten, for many countries to
achieve the Millennium Development Goals", says Wahu Kaara, a GCAP
representative from Africa.
During 2005 millions of people are expected to demand that world
leaders fulfill their promises at three key "White Band Days": the G8 summit
in July in UK, at the UN General Assembly in September and in December
at the WTO Ministerial meeting in HK. The white band is a symbol of the
united call to end poverty once and for all.
"This is a really crucial moment in the global fight against poverty.
We are a massive and diverse group which has come together this year to
demand change. It is high time for action on trade justice, improved
aid and debt cancellation. So, our message today is that united we cannot
be ignored by our governments," said Coumba Toure from GCAP Africa who
presented President Lula with a white band during the launch event.
The GCAP demands that in 2005 world leaders:
* Immediately end dumping and rich country subsidies that keep
people in poverty.
* Enact measures to protect public services from enforced
liberalisation and privatisation, secure the right to food and affordable
access to essential drugs and strengthen corporate accountability
* Increase accountability and transparency of governments and
international organizations in the formulation of international trade
rules and national trade policies.
* Give more, untied and better aid now to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals.
* Meet the agreed target of 0.7% of national income in overseas
* Ensure aid is directed towards achieving development
* Cancel debt - rich countries, the World Bank and the IMF
should cancel 100% of the debt of the poorest countries in order to reach
the Millennium Development Goals.
* National efforts to eliminate poverty and to reach the
Millennium Goal that are developed and implemented in a way that is
democratic, transparent and accountable to citizens.