1,000 days to go: The Global Fight Against Extreme Poverty

Today marks the start of the 1,000 day countdown to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline. Rev Dr Mark Wakelin, President of the Conference of the Methodist Church in Britain, has joined religious leaders across the G8 countries in calling for governments to ‘strike at the underlying causes of poverty.’

In a letter to the Financial Times, 80 religious leaders have urged heads of state to keep their eye on the targets set 13 years ago. With a passionate call to remember the world’s poorest people, they asked the G8 leaders to keep their promises on aid and march forward with reforms on tax, trade and transparency. They have recognised today as a chance to reflect and an opportunity to re-engage with the structural issues that keep people poor:

'The MDGs remind us that in addition to providing for the wellbeing of our own societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold human dignity and the common good at the global level. Each individual has a value that can never be lost and must never be ignored.'  (Taken from the letter published in today’s Financial Times)

What are the MDGs?
In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to come together to try and free people from extreme poverty. This pledge became the MDGs, a set of eight targets designed to encourage development by improving social and economic conditions in the world's poorest countries with a deadline of 2015.

The eight goals cover a range of issues including tackling the spread of disease, reducing child mortality and increasing school attendance. The MDGs have not been without criticism and world leaders are currently looking at the next steps for eradicating global poverty.

MRDF’s Response with 1,000 Days to Go
The vision of the Millennium Development Goals is a good one; a group of countries, governments and organisations all working together with shared purpose and vision. We support religious leaders today in their desire to encourage those attending the G8 to stay committed to this vision. Today’s timely message has been a reminder of the commitment to realise the MDGs by 2015 but also a chance to think about the much greater things that could be achieved beyond this deadline.

The world is a very different place from when UN Member States originally discussed the MDGs and then agreed to them. Dramatic headway has been achieved towards the goals in many parts of the world. However there are still many millions of people caught in the trap of extreme poverty and many of these people live in countries that are failing to change because of complex underlying issues that are not easily or quickly resolved. The next 1,000 days provide us with an opportunity to encourage accelerated progress towards the MDGs and to continue to think creatively about how to end extreme poverty.

Maurice Adams, CEO of MRDF, comments:

'Like you and me, people all over the world want to live a life where their needs are met and their rights are acknowledged. Poverty prevents this because of precarious livelihoods, poor education, inadequate healthcare and maternal care, unsafe housing and a lack of other basic social services.

The MDGs were a well-intended start to a global conversation on how we address this kind of crippling poverty, but there is still a critical need, and obligation, to tackle the deeper underlying issues that cause it.

MRDF is committed to social justice and human rights through its participatory, community-focussed programme of support and we know that locally generated and owned interventions to poverty often offer the most appropriate long-term solutions.'

Join in the conversation on Twitter at #1000daystogo

MRDF is working together with other agencies this year to press our leaders to take action on aid, tax, land reform and transparency as part of the IF campaign. Find out more

Read the letter published in today’s Financial Times

5 April 2013

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