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Civil society calls for action on Millennium Development Goals

Anti-poverty activists from around the world have gathered at the UN headquarters in New York for a ground-breaking meeting between civil society, private sector bodies and government delegation in the General Assembly.

The meetings are being held ahead of a high-profile summit at the UN in September, where global leaders are expected to take measures to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Sadly, the commitment which leaders from 189 countries made in 2000 to end poverty is not on track to be achieved by the 2015 deadline. This is due to a multitude of factors including the feminisation of poverty, the ever more apparent effects of climate change, and the global financial and food crises. In 2009 alone, an estimated 90 million people, mostly women and girls, were pushed into poverty. “Governments seem to be suffering from a collective affliction – memory loss,” said Lysa John, Campaign Director of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), which is a civil society alliance of social movements, trade unions, and international NGOs working together in more than 100 national platforms. Under the slogan, ‘The World We Want’, activists are demanding legally binding policies to ensure that governments keep their promises and a global breakthrough plan to end extreme poverty by 2015. Gemma Adaba, from the International Trade Union Confederation and a member of GCAP, said: “The world we want is a world where there is Education For All, health, water, decent work, universal social protection and dignity for all.” Adaba also expressed trade unions’ discontent with the current situation of education in the world, “where children are denied the opportunity to go to school and neo-liberal polices dictate that education is a service that must be paid for.”

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