International agency Oxfam welcomed the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's 'Call to Action' to end world poverty made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, but warned that concrete proposals must emerge at the UN meeting in New York in September this year to turn the rhetoric into reality.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, rock star Bono, Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan joined Ban in a joint call for urgent action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, progress on which is sorely lacking in most areas. A number of companies also supported the call.
Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam GB, who is attending the meeting, said: "There is no reason and no excuse for the enduring and obscene levels of poverty in the world. Concerted action from political leaders in response to the demands of global citizens could overturn this inequity. Today's call is welcome, but it will only be meaningful if it is followed by concrete proposals and genuine action from all the major players. We must look back this in years to come and see it as a turning point, not a talking shop."
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) include halving extreme poverty, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. All the world's governments and leading development institutions have agreed to them. Stocking: "These goals are ambitious but they were chosen precisely because they are reachable. Frankly they are the absolute minimum that we ought to achieve. They are non-negotiable and yet here we are, half way through the time we have to deliver on them, too far away from too many of them. Leaders gathered here in Davos, and those around the world watching the meeting, must redouble their efforts to make sure we don't miss this target, for our own sakes, as well as the sake of future generations."