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Safeguard Millennium goals say anti-poverty campaigners

16 Oct 2008

Anti-poverty campaigners from 19 countries have jointly urged the global community to remain committed to the UN Millennium Development Goals – despite the mounting financial crisis.

Population living below national poverty line

The group – who are some of the world’s leading experts in poverty research – made the declaration during a summit at The University of Manchester today (16 October).

The strongly worded statement agreed by 31 campaigners based equally in developing and developed countries coincides with International Poverty Day.

The eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals form a blueprint agreed by all the world’s countries leading development institutions.

They range from halving extreme poverty, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education. All have a target date of 2015.

Professor Michael Woolcock, Research Director of the University’s Brooks World Poverty Institute which organised the summit said: “At a time when rich nations grapple with financial turmoil we must not loose sight of the world’s nearly two billion poorest people who live on less than two dollars a day.

“These people are routinely exposed to diseases and violence; their lives, homes and livelihoods are uninsured, and vulnerable to take-over at any time by local elites, thugs, politicians or the police.

“They cannot exert their human rights; the only credit available to build a small business or pay for medical expenses will cost 200 per cent a year.

“They will watch their children die early and often for want of medical interventions that cost 50 cents.

“That is why we say meeting the Millennium Development Goals must remain a global priority.”

“On international poverty day, our common humanity demands that we work to establish a vibrant and inclusive global economy,

“But we must also redouble our efforts to work with poor people to ensure that they too live lives of dignity, opportunity and hope.”

The text in full:

October 2008
Today is International Poverty Day, and at a time when the rich nations are grappling with intense financial turmoil, deep political tensions and rising energy costs it is not hard to forget the plight of the world’s three billion poorest people who live on less than $2.50 a day. The rich nations’ problems are crippling for their own citizens and communities, but the consequences of these problems extend around the globe, and should remind us that poor people live with far worse circumstances every day. A financial crisis in the rich world threatens to usher in an extended recession, bringing about falling home prices, rising bankruptcies, dwindling retirement savings and a narrowing of employment options. But for the world’s poorest people, living in even a booming regional economy can mean that their meagre houses are demolished (to make way for new office buildings), that food and fuel prices rise beyond their capacity to provide a single meal a day, and that their traditional livelihoods are replaced by jobs in far away places requiring skills they do not possess.

The situation for the poor is far worse in stagnant or collapsed economies, which are common in developing countries. Here, poor people, if they can find work at all, will earn less than a dollar day; they will be routinely exposed to diseases and violence; their lives, homes and livelihoods will be uninsured, and vulnerable to takeover at any time by local elites, thugs, politicians or the police; they will be unable to exert their human rights; they will be denied citizenship and basic social justice because they lack the documentation to prove who they are; the only credit available to build a small business or pay for medical expenses will cost 200% a year; and they will watch their children die early and often for want of medical interventions that cost 50 cents.

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals must remain a global priority, despite the rising pressures to turn inwards. We live in an interconnected world, one in which the hopes, choices and aspirations of all are increasingly bound together. As important and widespread as the rich world’s current problems are, the greatest burdens will ultimately be borne by those least well placed to do so: the millions of poor people in rich countries, and especially the billions of poor people in low-income countries. On international poverty day, our common humanity demands that we work to establish a vibrant and inclusive global economy, while also redoubling our efforts to work with poor people to ensure that they too live lives of dignity, opportunity and hope.

Signed, attendees of the Manchester Poverty Summit, Brooks World Poverty Institute, The University of Manchester

Notes for editors

Professor Woolcock is available for comment.

For media enquires contact:
Mike Addelman
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567
michael.addelman@manchester.ac.uk

Signatures are:

Ethopia
Dr Admasu Shiferaw Courant Research Centre, University of Göttingen, Germany. Signed for organisation

India
Professor Sugata Marjit-Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India. Signed for organisation

Chile
Dr Gérman Escobar-Executive Director, RIMISP (Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural), Chile. Signed for organisation

UK
Professor Caroline Moser-Global Urban Research Centre, UK. Signed for organisation

USA
Professor Ananya Roy-Blum Center for Developing Economies, University of California at Berkeley, USA. Signed for organisation

South Africa
Professor Julian May-School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Signed as individual

South Africa
Professor Vishnu Padayachee-School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Signed as individual

Netherlands
Professor  Menno Pradhan-Economist, Amsterdam Institute for International Development, Netherlands. Signed for organisation

USA
Elizabeth Beasley-J-PAL Europe (MIT Jameel Poverty Action Lab), Paris. Signed for organisation

Brazil
Sergei Soares-IPEA, Brazil. Signed as individual

UK
Jo Duffy-ESRC, UK. Signed as individual

China
Jin Chengwu-Institute of Economics Research, Chinese Academy of Social Science, China. Signed as individual

UK
Dr Caroline Harper-ODI, UK. Signed as individual

Argentina
Leonardo Gasparini-CEDLAS, Argentina Signed for organisation

Canada
Professor Terry McKinley -CDPR, UK. Signed for organisation

Italy
Dr Gero Carletto-World Bank, US. Signed as individual

Sri Lanka
Priyanthi Fernando-Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka. Signed as individual

Argentina
Dr Maria Emma Santos-Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, UK. Signed for organisation

Finland
Dr Anna Hiltunen, Project Coordinator
Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, UK. Signed for organisation.

Ghana
Professor Augustin Fosu Deputy Director-World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University, Finland .Signed as individual

Pakistan/ Britain
Professor Akbar Noman-Initiative for Policy Dialogue, University of Columbia, US .Signed for organisation

Spain
Professor Asun Lera St Clair-Christian Michelsen Institute , Norway.  Signed for organisation

Spain
Professor Asun Lera St Clair,-University of Bergen, Norway. Signed for organisation

Chile
Dr Armando Barrientos-BWPI  and CPRC, UK

UK-Professor David Hulme
BWPI and CPRC

Australia
Professor Michael Woolcock, -BWPI-Signed for organisation

Germany
-Dr Matthias vom Hau,-BWPI

UK
Julia Brunt-CPRC. Signed for organisation

UK
Rory Brooks-Principle benefactor BWPI Signed for organisation

UK
Professor Tony Addison-Executive Director, BWPI Signed for organisation