Last chance to cut poverty by 2015" - Local MEP Bill Newton Dunn at UN Millennium Development Goals Summit

1 Oct 2010

East Midlands LibDem Euro-MP Bill Newton Dunn and his MEP colleagues in New York last week urged nations of the world to "sprint to the finish line" in the race to meet global poverty-reduction targets by their 2015 deadline. Newton Dunn was one of the EU's official representatives alongside 150 heads of state and government at a three-day UN summit to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, a planetary roadmap to fight hunger, disease and maternal and child mortality, provide basic education for all and protect the environment.

Although many of the targets contained in the MDGs are currently off-track, Newton Dunn welcomed the great progress that has been made over the past decade.

"The MDGs are achievable - we are on track to halve the number of people globally living below the poverty line, and have made real progress on treating and preventing malaria and HIV, for example. But other targets, particularly concerning infant mortality and maternal health, are not being met.

"Rich countries - including EU Member States - must not falter. Even in these tough economic times, it is imperative that we keep our promises to the poor and commit 0.7% of GNI to development aid. When it comes to development and the MDGs, we are talking about the very poorest people in the world. Their nations are often the most fragile when it comes to coping with international crises, yet it was not their bankers and mortgage brokers who caused the recent financial and economic turmoil. We cannot turn our backs on them now. The need to stay committed is actually greater than ever.

"I was pleased to note the findings of a recent survey of European citizens1, that despite our own troubles, a resounding 80% of Europeans support our commitments to the 0.7% GNI figure. As the world's largest donor, the EU is well placed to take on this call from its citizens and to continue to lead the MDG agenda.

"It is also absolutely clear that public aid alone will not be enough. We have to bring the private sector on board, work together with emerging development partners - especially China, and look at new funding sources. And, all aid and other assistance must be used as efficiently and effectively as possible."

"We must seize all available means in the remaining 5 years, to ensure all the goals become reality."

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