4 February 2013

Liberia: Abolish 'Extreme Poverty'

Liberia has attracted about U.S.$16 to 18 billion in foreign investment. A conversation with Liberian Minister of Finance Amara Konneh. ( Resource: Liberia: Government Ready to Work With Investors )

The meeting of the UN High Level Panel (HLP) ended in Monrovia last Friday with the three co-chairs focusing on a new set of international development agenda seeking an end to "extreme poverty" around the world.

The three-day panel ended at the newly constructed Royal Hotel in Sinkor, where after several hours of closed door deliberation, the three leaders Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and the British Prime Minister amongst other things discussed a new target to replace the millennium development goals, which expire in 2015.

The three leaders appointed by Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, said they put together a document that will address poverty that is affecting millions of the world population.

In particular, Mr Cameron said the UN must focus on ending poverty factors, including "corruption and lack of justice".

If agreed later this year, the new pledges will run until 2030.

But he insisted that more than just financial aid was required to lift countries in a similar situation out of poverty.

'Rule of law'

During a press conference, the UK Prime Minister was also forced to defend his commitment to dedicating 0.7% of British gross domestic product to foreign aid.

Mr Cameron has pledged to protect the international development budget but conceded on Thursday that the UK defence budget could be cut further in 2015-16.

He said: "I am proud of the fact that Britain has kept its promises. We will achieve 0.7% of our gross national income in aid as promised. And I am proud to be the PM who has helped deliver that."

The GDP commitment has yet to be enshrined in law.

UN goals

The millennium development goals, designed to be completed by 2015, are pledges by UN member countries to increase the living standards of people in poorest parts of the world.

The first of them - reducing poverty among some of the very poorest - has been achieved, due largely to big increases in income in recent years in China and India. But attempts to reach other goals have been less successful.

Mr Cameron was selected by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as joint member to chair the meeting. The next set of UN goals will be drafted with input from charities and advocacy groups.

During the conference local civil society groppings submitted a document for the HLP to look into.

A paragraph fromthe document states: "We call upon the HLP to ensure that the post-2015 development framework increases financial resources and policy space for human development and human rights, and creates incentives, institutions and processes in which people and civil society organisations can participate effectively to design, implement and monitor economic and social trends, funding, policies and programs. This will be essential to building a truly inclusive and sustainable development agenda."

Another paragraph states" "We strongly believe that the Post-2015 Development Agenda should be based on a vision of socio-economic transformation and a strategy that will have at its core a commitment to protect and promote the human rights of people, to build their economic capabilities, and thereby to harness their potential and to recognise them as key contributors to development.

"Support local farmers and small agricultural producers to produce affordable food for all through access to improved marketing, technology and credit; to ensure that agricultural and trade policies in high income countries do not militate against agricultural production in low and middle income countries; to prevent the loss of land to local farmers through land grabbing and secure their rights to land; to protect farmers? intellectual property in seeds and local agricultural varieties; to strengthen farmers? cooperatives for production and marketing; to particularly address the problems that women farmers have in securing land rights, accessing credit, technology and labor; and to urgently address the need to mitigate the impact of climate change on agricultural production" the group added.

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