The Independent View: The Liberal Democrats’ chance to tackle global poverty

Nick Clegg was not around for the whole of the Lib Dem conference this year. After giving his keynote address he got on a plane and flew to New York, as the UK’s most senior representative to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review Summit.

The MDGs were agreed in 2000, and signed by world leaders from 189 nations, pledging to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

However, a decade later the MDGs are badly off-track. The MDGs Review Summit is a chance to accelerate progress and keep the promise to the world’s poor.

Nick Clegg made his first UK public speech on international development on 15th September, explaining how the UK Government will meet its commitments to the Millennium Development Goals. He was presented with a giant suitcase, representing the hopes of the 1.3 million people across the UK who have taken part in campaigns for the MDGs over the last year.

The weekend before the MDGs Review Summit began, 1,324 campaign actions took place in 74 countries, calling for a breakthrough plan to meet the MDGs. In the UK, campaigners from the Bond network of NGOs gathered with drums, bells, whistles, pots and pans outside the House of Commons. The message, clearly expressed on banners and in chants was clear: Keep your promises: Deliver the MDGs.

The Millennium Development Goals are clear, measurable, and achievable. They are the best articulation of what progress on tackling global poverty might look like. Delivering them will involve supporting civil society in poor countries, maintaining aid levels, stopping climate change and reforming the international financial institutions that too often harm poor countries instead of helping them.

Nick Clegg has reaffirmed his commitment to the MDGs to NGOs, to party activists, and to countries of the world at the UN.

As the below video shows – people in the UK have consistently shown their support for government action on development. With five years to go until the 2015 deadline, the Liberal Democrats are well placed to make sure the UK’s part of the deal is kept.


(Also available on YouTube here.)

Follow the UK’s progress at the UN MDGs Review Summit, including Nick Clegg’s speech to world leaders, on the Bond website.

* Tim Gee is Campaigns Communications Officer for Bond.

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This entry was posted in The Independent View.
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