The Poor and the Powerful: A New Global Partnership

Jun 4, 2013 |

The Poor and the Powerful: A New Global Partnership


Can we be the generation to eliminate extreme poverty from the earth? This is the challenge set by the Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, co-chaired at the request of the UN Secretary General by the Presidents of Liberia and Indonesia, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The Report does not come from a top-down process, despite the eminent names on the Panel. It is the product of nine months of careful listening to what poor people say is important to them. All the right experts were consulted, as you might expect. But Panel members also spoke to farmers, indigenous peoples, local communities, informal workers, people with disabilities, women’s groups, trades unions and faith groups. Poor people spoke eloquently about insecurity and corruption, their fear of getting sick and lack of safety, violence in the home, exclusion from society’s institutions and the need for transparent, open and responsive governments that recognise their dignity and human rights. They want to see what is wrong put right. As Pope Francis has called for, this is a “human-centred” agenda, bringing together “people” and “planet”.

The Report sets bold targets, while recognising that saying and doing are not the same thing. It offers a framework as well as a vision. By 2030, it sets out how to achieve 1.2 billion fewer people hungry and at the margins of survival; 100m children saved from dying before the age of five; 470 million more workers with good jobs and livelihoods. It includes targets to support women and girls, stabilise the environment, prevent food going to waste, make governments more transparent. It follows closely what Prime Minister David Cameron calls the ‘golden thread’ of peace, good governance and open societies and economies. It will require global effort, starting where the Millennium Development Goals leave off.

There will be extensive negotiation at the UN and elsewhere on the post-2015 goals. This Report has given that debate a great start. I hope that the global Catholic network, from Caritas to Pontifical Councils, clergy and lay people, nuncios and religious, will play a leading role. The High Level Panel has provided an inspiring source of recommendations and ideas which we hope the international community will build upon. That, at least, we owe to the global poor.

Nigel Baker

UK Ambassador to the Holy See


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