World Poverty is our Problem

July 03, 2003 ,

AT the Cardiff Trade Justice picnic in the park recently, I met ordinary people campaigning for a fairer world.

Most people have probably never heard of the Millennium Development Goals.

They are the targets set by our planet's leaders to relieve world poverty by 2015.

But as the Cardiff campaigners told me, the world's poorest people are falling even further behind. At the current rate the goals will not even be reached by 2050.

What are these goals? They include getting rid of extreme poverty, primary schooling for all children, lower child mortality, access to clean water and fighting diseases including Aids. The goals are ambitious butachievable, if there is the political will. A quarter of the world's people live on less than a dollar a day. In Europe each cow attracts more money in subsidy than a billion people have to live on.

When the UN declaration was made, countries like Britain pledged to spare no effort to fight this extreme poverty. To be fair, the UK government has been at the forefront of the fight. I attended a meeting this week at Number 11 Downing Street to hear about Gordon Brown's plan to double the amount of finance for international development aid. So far, sadly, only the French have supported his plan.

Thirty thousand children die daily from preventable diseases, and one woman dies every minute in pregnancy and childbirth.

We all have a responsibility to our fellow human beings. Our job is to promote peace, stable government, fair trade, and sustained development with the aid programme.

It is nearly 20 years since Bob Geldolf's Live Aid Concert. If the Millennium Goals are not reached by 2015 then we, the world's rich, will have failed the world's poor.