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Modest Millennium Development Goals require change in mindsets - Bairbre de Brún

12 April, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today welcomed a motion for a European Parliament resolution on the eradication of world poverty. Ms de Brún said

that 'poverty and hunger is the consequence of a political and economic system that turns its back on the world's poor'.

Speaking from Strasbourg on a report by Glenys Kinnock MEP 'on the role of the European Union in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals

(MDGs)', Ms de Brún said:

"I want to commend this report on the commitments required by member states on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In September 2000 the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration. One of the targets in this declaration is to halve the proportion of people living on $1(EUR0.75 approx) a day by 2015. Unless rich countries meet the very modest target of 0.7% of GNI this target cannot be reached.

"However, a number of member states have not met their commitments, whilst others have begun a process of decreasing aid levels. The EU's strong words on poverty reduction, reduction in child mortality, ensuring environmental sustainability and combating HIV and Aids must be matched with action.

"One small step towards reversing this trend would be a redirection of a significant portion of the 160 billion budget spent annually by EU states on defence. It has been estimated that 100 billion euros would halve world poverty by 2015.

"In particular I commend the report's assessment that action against poverty requires a radical change of policy in both industrialised and developing countries in order to address the structural causes of poverty, including unfair world trade rules, unaffordable debt payments and the unfair distribution of wealth. It is also important to state that EU development assistance should be promoted in the context of global justice and not merely a question of giving some money to alleviate the hardship that structural inequalities continue to create.

"We need to see the complete cancellation of developing world debt. We need to see an end to the subordination of aid to security policy and an increase in EU expenditure on combating poverty and hunger. We need to see structural barriers to progress in developing countries removed.

"I very much hope that this report will act as an incentive in a world of inequality, endless cycles of preventable poverty, hunger and disease."


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