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Summit commitments on tackling poverty fall short

Dashed hopes and squandered opportunities – Summit commitments on tackling poverty fall seriously short

“Leaders have dashed hopes and squandered opportunities, and empty promises cost lives,” said Kumi Naidoo of the Global Call to Action against Poverty.

Millions of campaigners around the world have expressed disappointment and dismay at the result of the UN Summit. Instead of taking an historic opportunity to take clear steps in the fight against poverty and insecurity, for the large part, leaders have instead simply reiterated promises already made.

At the Millennium Summit in 2000 leaders made ambitious promises to ‘spare no effort to free our fellow man, women, and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected.’

Five years on the massive gap between promises and actual action remains. Global poverty levels have increased since 2000, as have inequality levels within and between countries. No amount of warm words will cover up the fact that the world leaders have failed the poor and turned a deaf ear to millions of campaigners.


The few bright spots in the summit outcome document were chiefly in the areas of women’s rights and agreement that governments have a collective ‘Responsibility to Protect’ citizens against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Governments recognised that gender equality can only be advanced if governments end impunity for violence against women; guarantee women’s rights to labour protections, property ownership, and reproductive health; and involve women in the full spectrum of peace and security efforts.

Governments also made a clear commitment to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care by 2010, affirming the commitment made at the Gleneagles G8 in July.

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