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The BBC's Alison Holt
"Without education there is no hope for a better future"
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The BBC's Mike Wooldridge, in Delhi
"Getting the mothers of tommorow into schools is the key"
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UNICEF Deputy Director, Anita Tiessen
"Investment in education is one of the best ways for individuals and countries to start lifting themselves out of poverty"
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James Wolfensohn, World Bank President
"The only way of doing development is to have it owned in the country"
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Monday, 26 February, 2001, 11:10 GMT
Brown to tackle global child poverty
Children scavenge among rubbish in Cambodia
Children scavenge among rubbish in Cambodia
The UK Government has announced plans to create an international fund to help provide developing countries with cheap vaccines against childhood diseases.

Chancellor Gordon Brown said the Jubilee Fund would also be used to give 75m children from Commonwealth countries access to primary education for the first time.

Mr Brown unveiled the proposals in a keynote address to a major child poverty conference in London on Monday.

Aids research in India
Drug firms are set for tax breaks
Mr Brown said: "Millions of world children live on a knife-edge of existence.

"Many are crippled by poverty and war. This is both an affront and a challenge.

"In an era of prosperity, more than ever the world's children must become our cause."

Pharmaceutical companies will be given tax credits to develop new drugs for diseases such as Aids, malaria and tuberculosis.

At present, only 10% of medicines that are being developed are for diseases that afflict those in developing countries.

We must move children to the centre of the world agenda

Nelson Mandela

One in four children worldwide is said to live in poverty, while a new report says more than three million in the UK are living below the breadline.

A series of commitments to be met by 2015 were made by world governments at the UN social summit in Copenhagen in 1995. These were:

  • To cut infant mortality by two-thirds.
  • Halve the number of children living below the poverty line.
  • Ensure primary education is available to all.
Mr Brown is concerned the deadline will be missed unless there is a concerted effort by developed countries to work together and accept joint responsibility.

Mandela video-link

Former South African president Nelson Mandela also addressed the conference via a live video-link.

He said: "We must move children to the centre of the world agenda.

He said nearly 11 million children across the world were likely to die this year from chronic malnutrition, infection and diarrhoea.

"These are tragedies that can be prevented. They should be prevented."

David Bull, UK director of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), said: "I expect this conference to be a true turning point in the fight against poverty, which must start with children."

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: Seeking "concrete" action
Mike Aaronson, director-general of Save the Children, stressed: "It is shameful that one in four children still lives in poverty, that millions are excluded from education, healthcare and society."

Julia Tilford, from Oxfam, said: "It is nothing short of an international scandal that today, 1.7 million children will die needlessly because world governments have failed to reduce poverty.

"We hope that the initiative will put the spotlight on this failure and inject the political leadership that has been missing."

It is shameful that one in four children still lives in poverty, that millions are excluded from education, healthcare and society.

Mike Aaronson, Save The Children
In a new report, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) says as well as the three million or more children living in poverty in the UK, another 2.4 million suffer from "multiple deprivation".

This means they are without items such as a warm waterproof coat or a properly-fitting pair of shoes.

The CPAG believes more than 600,000 children could be lifted out of poverty if the 2.4bn used to cut the basic rate of income tax had been used for child benefits instead.

CPAG director Martin Barnes said: "Over three million children will remain in poverty at the election.

"This is an unacceptable level which all political parties must make a commitment to tackle.

"With a radical and sustained agenda, the end of child poverty could be in sight."

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See also:

23 Feb 01 | Health
Child poverty 'high in the UK'
26 Feb 01 | Africa
A sheet of paper for a bed
26 Feb 01 | Health
'They made me work day and night'
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