The news that the UN World Summit in New York on 14-16 September is set to downplay the global fight against poverty, has been greeted with dismay and deep concern by anti-poverty campaigners.
Early in the morning of 10 September, days prior to their departure for New York, leaders around the world will be treated to a rude awakening by people campaigning as part of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) in 74 countries around the world. Alarm bells will ring outside their residences, peaceful marches will trail past their offices, white kites and thousands of white doves will take to the air. Iconic buildings, including London’s Oval cricket ground, will be wrapped in white bands, GCAP’s global symbol. (See highlights and details attached for film and photo opportunities.)
Leaders attending from 191 countries were to have reviewed progress made on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000 to halve poverty by 2015. Instead, the New York summit agenda now appears to ignore long overdue and unfinished work in ending world poverty. The job is far from done. Leaders and summit organisers must ‘wake up’ and reorganise their priorities, putting poverty back at the top of the agenda.
To that end, the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) is rallying its supporters from Asia to Africa, Latin America to Europe, to ‘wake up’ their leaders to continue the urgent journey and to organise peaceful protests against the apparent indifference of some of the leaders of the most powerful countries in the world. A series of morning meetings with presidents and prime ministers, including France’s President Chirac and Germany’s Chancellor Shroeder, as well as similar meetings in Indonesia and Niger, will start the day at which campaigners’ demands will be presented for their leaders to take concrete steps in New York to end poverty once and for all.
The global mobilisation will then continue with an diverse series of world events: a massive beach festival in Brazil, a peace march of 150,000 people to the ancient Italian town of Assisi, simultaneous concerts and club dance gatherings on three continents, and the launch of ‘people’s reports’ on the MDGs in countries across Asia, Latin America and Africa.
“When 191 Heads of State arrive at the UN in a few days time they must have no doubt that the world is watching every move they make,” said Kumi Naidoo, chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty. “During 2005 we have seen an unprecedented momentum build across the world, uniting citizens in rich and poor countries in the desire for their leaders to commit to eradicating poverty in this generation. No more excuses will be acceptable to the millions of people living in poverty. A failure to take decisive action on the quality and quantity of aid, trade justice, human rights, debt cancellation, transparency and improved governance and delivery effectiveness will be an indefensible betrayal of almost half the people of our planet”
After the unprecedented mobilisation of public support and awareness that moved politicians to take some small steps at the G8 summit in July, the momentum cannot be allowed to slow.
Just a few months on from those momentous events on the first White Band Day in July 2005 just before the Gleneagles summit, the world will now be witness to the next phase in the largest anti-poverty campaign ever seen.
Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) http://www.whiteband.org [GCAP gcap-newsletter] Newsletter No. 13
2 September 2005