Tearfund says governments must be held to account on MDGs

September 20, 2010
By Brian Hutt
Christian Today

Christian development agency Tearfund says world leaders must make “real progress” at the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals this week.

The summit has been called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to accelerate progress on the MDGs as the five-year countdown to the target date for their fulfilment begins.

Tearfund’s advocacy director Paul Cook said “encouraging progress” had been made in many areas but that the world was “still a long way off tackling poverty once and for all”.

“We must see real progress this week, especially in developing an effective accountability mechanism which will hold governments to account for clear targets every year for the next five years,” he said.

Mr Cook welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to tackling global poverty and climate change but said that the UK Government also needed to speak out more on the link between the two.

He called for a new global fund to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change.

“Climate change has become the elephant in the room when discussing global poverty,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous to think that we can tackle global poverty without recognising the huge changes in climate change that are already happening around the world and which are affecting the world’s poorest countries – ironically the ones that have done the least to cause it.”

The Millennium Development Goals were agreed by world leaders in 2000 and include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, and reducing the child mortality rate by 2015.

Mr Cook said that the international community must recognise churches as “essential partners” in their plans to achieve the MDGs.

“We must embrace the opportunities that churches and faith communities bring in working with poor communities at grassroots levels to transform their own lives forever,” he said.

Tearfund is among the aid agencies convening in New York for the summit. They will call on world leaders to endorse the Sanitation and Water for All initiative aimed at boosting investment in low income countries, and urge governments to commit fresh funds to the Global Fund for addressing HIV, TB and malaria.

Mr Cook said: “All the plans discussed this week will come to very little if we don’t make sure that there is a clear roadmap for the next five years, with annual targets that can clearly be measures, and that we all hold our governments to account for meeting these targets.”