The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Louis Belanger - Oxfam media officer in New York on +1 202 321 2967

MDGs: Bold Leadership Needed To Turn Tide of Poverty


Ahead of a crucial meeting in New York next week to
assess the state of the world's fight against global poverty,
international agency Oxfam called on world leaders to redouble their
efforts to fight the impact of rising food and fuel prices - and the
attendant economic slowdown from eroding real gains in poverty

The latest UN estimates suggest that the number of
malnourished people worldwide has increased by 75m, to 925m, reversing
progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving world
hunger by 2015. Higher food prices indirectly affect progress towards
many of the other Goals as well, not least because hunger negatively
impacts on peoples' ability to work, stay healthy and for children to
go to school.

Alison Woodhead, Oxfam International's spokeswoman
in New York said: "In the face of these new and daunting challenges we
need a dramatic shift in political will and ambition. This meeting must
deliver concrete plans on how to keep these anti-poverty targets in our

Around 90 Heads of State and Governments, along with the
CEOs of the world's biggest businesses and hundreds of anti-poverty
organizations, are expected to gather in New York on September 25th for
the High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals, which will be
hosted by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Oxfam is calling on
them to treat this as an emergency summit and step up their efforts in
the fight against poverty.

Alison Woodhead: "Leaders must not
just reissue empty promises, with their fingers crossed behind their
backs. This is a poverty emergency that requires exactly the same
attention and response as the financial crisis grabbing the headlines.
Significant progress has been made but much more needs to be done."

progress is possible, even in the poorest countries. In Rwanda the
number of children dying from malaria has been cut by two-thirds in the
last two years alone. A boy born in Tanzania today is 25% less likely
to die by his first birthday than his sister born just four years ago.
However on current trends, Oxfam warns that the MDGs will not be
achieved. An additional $150bn per year is needed by 2010 to meet all the goals, less than double the amount spent (US$85b) to bail out a single insurance group, AIG.

concluded: "Given the turmoil in financial markets, rich countries will
be tempted to tighten their belts. But we must do more, not less, if we
are to prevent the real danger that progress on the MDGs will be wiped
out. Since this summit was announced in January, increased food and oil
prices have pushed millions more people into poverty."

This week,
Oxfam and other international agencies launch a major new campaigning
action called 'in my name', calling on citizens to hold their leaders
accountable for promises made in the year 2000. The initiative brings
together dignitaries such as Queen Rania of Jordan, Mary Robinson and
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and celebrities from all continents including
Rahul Bose,, Angelique Kidjo, Wyclef Jean, Annie Lennox and
Sergio Mendes.

Oxfam International is a global movement of people who are fighting inequality to end poverty and injustice. We are working across regions in about 70 countries, with thousands of partners, and allies, supporting communities to build better lives for themselves, grow resilience and protect lives and livelihoods also in times of crisis.