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Security focus ruins chance for action on poverty

Security focus thwarts chance for action on poverty at UN Summit

The world’s largest ever anti-poverty campaign warns today that if world leaders meeting at the UN World Summit in New York act to weaken already internationally agreed poverty-reduction goals, increased global insecurity will result.

In a briefing document released today, the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) spells out how governments are already off course to achieve the agreed international targets for reducing poverty – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – and what this means for poor people and rich countries.

The report argues that collective security can only be achieved by an end to poverty, inequality and conflict. Poverty heightens the likelihood of conflict and unrest: the risk of civil war is much higher in low-income countries. New threats to peace and security of rich nations arise from poverty and inequality, and criminal and terrorist networks are more likely to operate where state institutions are weak.

“People around the world have sent a wake-up call, but our leaders have yet to adequately respond to the alarming truth of global poverty,” said Kumi Naidoo, chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty. “In the twenty-first century, the price of inaction on poverty will be felt not only in developing countries, but across the world.”

The current draft Summit outcome document reaffirms the Millennium Development Goals – the internationally agreed upon targets for halving world poverty and commitments made by world leaders in 2000 when they signed the Millennium Declaration.

GCAP believes that this Summit is a chance for world leaders to reaffirm a timetable for achieving poverty reduction and get back on track with the promises they made in 2000 to achieve the MDGs.

GCAP is calling for leaders at the World Summit to lay out clear steps towards not only meeting, but exceeding, the Millennium Development Goals.

Leaders of all rich countries must agree to reach 0.7% of their national income in aid immediately and ensure that this aid reaches the poorest people in the poorest countries. They promised to give this amount in 1970, and 35 years later this promise remains broken. Whilst the G8 committed to increase levels of aid, the quality, quantity and crucially the speed of its delivery fall far short of what is desperately needed.

Leaders at the UN summit must endorse the need to go further on debt cancellation, agreeing to cancel the debts of all countries that need it to be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. They must also ensure that debt relief is not tied to harmful World Bank and IMF conditions.

On 10 September, the spotlight will be on world leaders as they prepare to leave for the UN World Summit in New York. People across the world will unite in the second GCAP White Band Day mobilization to demand that world leaders Wake-Up to Poverty.

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