International Efforts to Eliminate Poverty

We believe that poverty is an aberration in a world of abundance. The good news is that if poverty is a human creation, then by applying our collective creativity and compassion to the task, humanity can organize its institutions to eliminate it.

It is important that concerned people let their elected officials know that they care about the participation of their governments in reducing poverty in the world. Insist that your government sincerely cooperate with other nations to make this world a better place for all.

MDG Gap Task Force Report 2011 Released: The Global Partnership for Development: Time to Deliver - The report monitors the progress made in achieving the targets of MDG 8 (see below). Continued attention is given to the impact of the global financial crisis on meeting these targets. With less than four years left until the 2015 MDG deadline, the 2011 report provides recommendations to all major stakeholders on how to address the remaining implementation gaps. To download: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/mdg_gap/index.shtml

The Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs.) In 2000 the largest gathering of world leaders in history came together at the United Nations held the Millenium Summit to make the commitment to form a new global partnership to reduce the extreme poverty plaguing millions of people around the world. The result of that historic meeting was the UN Millennium Declaration, a series of targets with a deadline of 2015 known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, that aim to alleviate the misery that the poorest poeople among us suffer. These goals are listed below.

By adopting the Millennium Declaration, each country is to monitor and report to the UN, its progress toward achieving these goals for its peoples. Nations also agreed to cooperate to address the problem of indebtedness of least developed countries. The 189 United Nations Member States have pledged to accomplish the goals by 2015.

The interests and perspectives of indigenous peoples were not taken into account in the framing of the MDGs. The recent adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples now gives them a means of defending the rights of their communities and nations from development that might work against their interests.

Progress toward realizing the MDGs has fallen far short. It is important that our elected officials hear from us as we encourage them to give priority to the tasks invovled in eliminating the scourge of extreme poverty so that we can enjoy a secure and healthy world. Reducing world poverty should be seen as being in the interest of every nation and person. If that seems somehow friviolous to more immediate national concerns, we invite you to give some time to reflecting on the idea so that it can speak to you about its merits.

Governments have their momentary interests in mind as they negotiate international agreements. But these motivations can be quite different from the aspirations of the people who are themselves living in the difficult situations the MDGs attempt to resolve. This disparity can result in action plans (or "in-action" plans) that fail to make a useful difference. This problem was acknowledged formally In 1992 at UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janero. This was the first time that it was recognized that Civil Society should have a voice as "stakeholders" in...the world.

From that summit the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)was created. Meeting annually at the New York Headquarters of the United Nations, civil society representatives are able to dialog with governments toward bringing their perspectives to bear on the framing of plans to meet the MDGs and other issues of concern. The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action has participated in two sessions of the CSD.

The MDGs

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

  • Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
  • 2. Achieve universal primary education

  • Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling
  • 3. Promote gender equality and empower women

  • Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
  • 4. Reduce child mortality

  • Reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate among children under five
  • 5. Improve maternal health

  • Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
  • 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

  • Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
  • Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
  • 7. Ensure environmental sustainability

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
  • Achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by 2020.
  • 8. Develop a global partnership for development

  • Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory. Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction---nationally and internationally
  • Address the least developed countries’ special needs. This includes tariff-and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction
  • Address the special needs of landlocked and Small Island developing States
  • Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term.
  • In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth.
  • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
  • In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies --especially information and communications technologies
  • For more information on the MDGs, see:

    www.un.org/millenniumgoals
    www.undp.org/mdg
    http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/