22 SEPTEMBER 2010
Eliminating poverty in our lifetime
Kevin Rudd delivered his first address as Foreign Minister last week. He talked of his plans to attend the United Nations MDG Summit.
“The MD wha…?” came the response from the press gallery. Rudd was referring to this week’s United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The deafening sound of bewilderment should come as no surprise considering only six per cent of Australians have actually heard of the MDGs, according to a poll conducted by anti-poverty agency ActionAid. This research left the development sector crying OMG. It is with this in mind that it is necessary to illuminate WTF the MDGs are.
The MDGs are a set of eight goals agreed upon by world leaders at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, committing nations to a global partnership and a framework for action for states, NGOs, corporations and civil society to reduce extreme poverty.
Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living off less than US$1.25 per day. The Global Poverty Project, a group who conduct community education presentations on extreme poverty, say that this is enough to buy two basic meals with ten cents left over for everything else: health care, transport, education, shelter and clothes. This is what life looks like for around one billion people on the planet right now. Extreme poverty is poverty that kills and kills for unnecessary reasons such as preventable and treatable disease as well as access to affordable food and healthcare. The bottom line is that extreme poverty ought not to be the reality for anyone anywhere in 2010, but is found in countries such as Malawi in Sub-Saharan Africa, and closer to home, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
The main objective of the MDGs is to see extreme poverty halved by 2015. This week’s summit will see 140 heads of state and governments in New York to reflect on how the world is tracking, ten years on. There are eight goals and 21 targets to measure progress. Here are the goals along with some key targets:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger