Global campaign against poverty starts

Netra Prasad Timsina


Today, the gap between the worlds’ rich and poor is wider then ever. Poverty causes global injustices such as AIDS, malnutrition, conflict and illiteracy that have pushed people to the state of impoverishment. More than a billion people in the world are trapped in abject poverty. More than 40 million people are already infected by AIDS. 104 million children do not go to primary school and 860 million adults (most of them women) can not read and write. Hunger is the daily reality for many. In part of the world, the death of mothers in childbirths and children in infancy are still routine-deaths that could be prevented by the availability of simple healthcare. 1.4 billion people do not have access to safe water. It is violation of human rights on a massive scale; it is compounded by the trade injustice that keeps people poor. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the rights of all people to an adequate standard of living and well being including food, clothing, housing, and medical care: rights whose achievements are undermined by unjust policies and practices including trade related.

Efforts to tackle poverty and deliver sustainable development as pledged in the Millennium Declaration, are grossly inadequate. World poverty is sustained not by chance or nature, but by a combination of factors: injustice in global trade, the huge burden of debt, and insufficient

and ineffective aid. For the first time in history, civil societies are putting their efforts to turn the situation around. Civil societies (NGOs, international networks, trade unions, religious groups, and other civil society actors) around the world are launching global campaign against poverty (Global Call to action Against Poverty). This campaign is an alliance of both South and North. The main level of coordination will be national platform, layered under regional networks. The campaign is calling for urgent and meaningful policy change in four critical and inextricably linked areas: trade, debt, aid and national level priority such as democracy and human rights, social exclusion and discrimination based on race, caste, HIV status, minority classification etc. Trade has become the vehicle for the indiscriminate liberalisation of developing country economies and the imposition of harmful conditions, instead of supporting sustainable development, poverty eradication and gender equity. Year 2005 is going to be an important year to make progress in the fight against poverty. There are several key moments in the year where campaigners will be active on a national and international levels.

The G8 summit will take place next week in Scotland UK and promises have been made to put poverty at the top of the agenda. This is an opportunity to make sure that action is agreed by the world leaders who have the power to cancel debt, deliver more and better aid, and change unfair trade rules and practices. On the July 1 the civil society is attempting to get everyone in the world who is against poverty to act in solidarity and wear a white band to call for world leaders to do more to eradicate poverty. The campaign is going to be organised in more than 80 countries in the world. In UK alone, it is expected that more than million people around the world join the campaign to put a pressure to the world leaders. National campaigns have their own priority ranging from democracy and human rights to national security. The Nepali society is also a part of this global campaign and launching similar activities at national level raising the issues of poverty and violence at the top of the agenda. A broader alliance of different civil societies organisations in Nepal is also taking this opportunity to act in solidarity with the international civil societies.