BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 12:07 GMT
Poverty campaign 'was big step'
A woman with her child at a feeding station in Niger
Little has been achieved on making trade fairer, says Bono

Campaigning rock star Bono has hailed the achievements of the Make Poverty History Campaign, as the year-long push draws to a close.

The U2 front man told the BBC deals on debt and aid, reached at the G8 summit of the richest nations in Scotland in July, had been a "very big step".

The world was now closer to the aim of halving poverty by 2015, he said.

But he was "gutted" by the World Trade Organisation's failure to make trade fairer for poorer nations, he said.

'No progress'

Recent WTO talks in Hong Kong achieved an end to farm export subsidies, but did nothing to reduce the trade barriers that stop developing nations gaining fair access to world markets.


Bono told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "There has been no progress on trade and the US play silly buggers on subsidies and the EU on tariffs and it just goes on and on.

"...It seems that the poorest of the poor are always last in the queue for any breakthrough."

It was vital campaigners kept the pressure up on world leaders to deliver on the promises they made at the Gleneagles summit, he added.

"Politicians like to sign cheques, but they rarely like to cash them," he warned.

New campaign

One of the anti-poverty campaign's founders Andy Atkins said even though the year-long campaign was coming to a close, tens of thousands of people were still very keen to ensure its focus was not lost.

He told the BBC: "Large numbers of people have started campaigning for international justice on poverty issues that have never campaigned before and ... have remained interested.

"So it hasn't just been a short burst of energy."

Last week development charity Oxfam launched its own campaign to get a million people signed up to fight world poverty in whatever way they can.

The charity said it wanted to build on the successes and widespread support for Make Poverty History as well as the generosity British people showed after the Asian tsunami.

Like Bono, it also wants to see more achieved on fair trade to reduce poverty in the longer term.

Oxfam argues the need to allow poorer nations to trade free from the tariffs and trade barriers that prevent their economies growing should not be forgotten in 2006.

Have we made poverty history?
16 Sep 05 |  Business
G8 leaders agree $50bn aid boost
08 Jul 05 |  Business
The G8 deal: What they said
08 Jul 05 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific