Skip to main content
bbc.co.uk
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index

BBC News

BBC Election 2005

Watch the BBC Election News
SERVICES
  • Election news alerts
  • Email services
  • Mobiles/PDAs
  • News for your site
Last Updated: Sunday, 24 April, 2005, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Poverty pledges and broken promises
Analysis
By David Loyn
Developing World Correspondent, BBC News

There is no area of political life where promises are more routinely broken than international development.

The main UN target - cutting in half the number living in poverty - should be reached by 2015.

At present trends, it will be 150 years before the target is reached. Nothing's new.

Children in Ethiopia
The UN aims to halve the number of people living in poverty by 2015

It is now more than 30 years since the developed world pledged to put aside 0.7% of GDP for development assistance.

In the 1990s in Britain aid spending was actually reduced, and although the budget for the DFID (Department for International Development) has doubled since Labour came to power in 1997, that 0.7% figure will not be reached until 2013.

There is no doubting the public support for change.

Half of those asked in the YouGov poll out on Sunday said that the 0.7% target should be reached by 2010 at the latest.

Three quarters want rich countries to cancel unpayable debts owed by developing countries, and even more people - 88% - want the international trade rules rewritten in favour of poorer nations.

The big problem is the lack of any joined-up commitment from the US.

More than half of humanity will wake up hungry today, and it will take more than wearing a white arm band to change that
David Loyn

In the preliminary meetings for the G8 summit in Scotland in July, American officials have been open to anything on aid as long as it does not cost them money.

And it is clear that without a significant change in heart from the world's largest economy there cannot be the big gear changes which will make a difference.

America is currently at the bottom of the league table of developed countries, giving less than 0.2% of GDP to the developing world.

This is one area of international policy where Britain is seen in Europe and the UN as creative and far-sighted.

Government ministers and would-be MPs like to be seen at trade justice meetings, letting their 'Make poverty history' white arm bands show below the cufflinks.

But more than half of humanity will wake up hungry today, and it will take more than wearing a white arm band to change that.



LINKS TO MORE ELECTION 2005 STORIES


 

BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Michael Howard tells voters they should 'take a stand'



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

TOP ELECTION 2005 STORIES NOW