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close this bookWe the Peoples... Millennium Forum - Declaration and Agenda for Action (UN, 2000, 25 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOUR VISION
View the documentTHE CHALLENGES
View the documentA. ERADICATION OF POVERTY: INCLUDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DEBT CANCELLATION
View the documentB. PEACE, SECURITY, AND DISARMAMENT
View the documentC. FACING THE CHALLENGE OF GLOBALIZATION: EQUITY, JUSTICE AND DIVERSITY
View the documentD. HUMAN RIGHTS
View the documentE. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
View the documentF. STRENGTHENING AND DEMOCRATIZING THE UNITED NATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

A. ERADICATION OF POVERTY: INCLUDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DEBT CANCELLATION

Poverty is a violation of human rights. With some 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty, it is the most widespread violation of human rights in the world. Poverty exists not only in the developing countries, but is also a dramatic and hidden reality in the industrialized countries. Particularly affected are disadvantaged and underrepresented groups - indigenous people, people with disabilities, women, children, youth, and the elderly. Hunger and the HIV/AIDS pandemic are also highly related to poverty. Processes of impoverishment inherent in the global economic system are resulting in increasing inequity, social injustice and violence worldwide.

Eradication of poverty has become a matter of urgency. Poverty eradication is not an automatic consequence of economic growth; it requires purposeful action to redistribute wealth and land, to construct a safety net and to provide universal free access to education. We call on our governments, and the United Nations to make poverty eradication a top political priority.

Poverty eradication is not an automatic consequence of economic growth; it requires purposeful action to redistribute wealth and land, to construct a safety net and to provide universal free access to education. We call in our governments, and the United Nations to make poverty eradication a top political priority.

The Forum urges;

The United Nations

1. To act as an independent arbitrator to balance the interest of debtor and creditor nations and to monitor how debt cancellation funds are spent.

2. To introduce binding codes of conduct for transnational companies, and effective tax regulation on the international financial markets, investing this money in programmes for poverty eradication.

3. To immediately establish at the United Nations, a Global Poverty Eradication Fund, which will ensure that poor people have access to credit, with contributions from governments, corporations, and the World Bank and other sources.

4. To adopt cultural development as the focus theme of one of the remaining years of the International Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1996-2007).

Governments

1. To implement fully the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development in 1995, in partnership with all actors of civil society in an integrated and holistic framework. Governments should focus their efforts and policies on addressing the root causes of poverty and providing for the basic needs of all, giving special priority to the needs and rights of disadvantaged and underrepresented. We further call on the governments to anchor the Copenhagen goals in their national statutes and to introduce national anti-poverty strategies that provide safety nets and basic livelihood allocation as a right.

2. To strengthen the entrepreneurial capacity of women, indigenous people and people in the informal productive sector, ensuring access to credit, to enable them to become self-employed. This is the sure way of creating jobs for all and a sustainable way of eradicating poverty.

3. To support the efforts of the poor to keep families together, with particular attention to disadvantaged and underrepresented groups including indigenous people, people with disabilities, women, children, youth, and the elderly. Effective action and resources are essential for those affected by migration.

4. To address the incidence, impact and continuing human costs of HIV/AIDS. To increase spending for health research and to ensure that the fruits of this research reach the people.

5. To recognize the special potential of people with disabilities and ensure their full participation and equal role in political, economic, social and cultural fields. To further recognize and meet their special needs, introduce inclusive policies and programmes for their empowerment, and ensure that they take a leading role in poverty eradication. To urge all states to apply the UN standard rules on the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities.

The Forum urges governments: To introduce and implement programmes to eradicate corruption in governments and civil society at large, and to promote good governance, accountability, democracy and transparency as the foundation for public ethics.

6. To review, adopt and maintain macro-economic policies and development strategies that address the needs and efforts of women in poverty, particularly those with disabilities. To develop gender-based methodologies to address the feminization of poverty and to recognize the leading role of women in eradicating poverty, as outlined in the declaration of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

7. To provide universal access to “education for all,” prioritizing free basic education and skills training for poor communities to improve their productive capacities. We call on governments to increase budgets for education, to reduce the technology gap, and to restructure educational policy to ensure that all children (girls and boys) receive moral, spiritual, peace and human rights education, while acknowledging, through programmes for families, adult literacy and the elderly, that education is a lifelong process. Special attention must be paid to the girl child. And higher education must be attainable on merit and not only on ability to pay.

8. To move towards economic reforms aimed at equity: in particular, to construct macro economic policies that combine growth with the goal of human development and social justice; to prevent the impoverishment of groups that emerged from poverty but are still vulnerable to social risks and exclusion; to improve legislation on labor standards including the provision of a minimum legal wage and an effective social system; and to restore people’s control over primary productive resources as a key strategy for poverty eradication.

9. To introduce and implement programmes to eradicate corruption in governments and civil society at large, and to promote good governance, accountability, democracy and transparency as the foundation for public ethics.

10. To adopt comprehensive, integrated policies so that priorities of such government departments as trade and defense are in line with the policies for international sustainable development.

11. To promote the use of indigenous crops and traditional production skills to produce goods and services.

12. To explore the feasibility of a legally binding Convention for Overcoming Poverty, to be drafted in effective consultation and partnership with people living in poverty themselves.

13. To cancel the debts of developing countries, including odious debts, the repayment of which diverts funds from basic needs. To improve measures to ensure that funds from debt cancellation are spent in consultation with the impoverished sections of society within the indebted nations. To direct international financial institutions to cancel 100% of the debt owed to them and to establish an arbitration process that balances the interests of debtor and creditor nations, with an independent arbitrator who will ensure discipline and transparency.

14. To call the World Trade Organization (WTO) to rectify urgently, the agriculture agreements that put pressure on developing countries to liberalize food imports, threatening their rural livelihoods, employment, natural resources, indigenous knowledge and food production and security in general.

The time has come to carry out the primary mission set forth in the United Nations Charter, “to preserve future generations from the scourge of war,” and to apply the principle of non-use of force, which is fundamental to the UN Charter. Working together, both civil society and governments can make armed conflict increasingly rare and can move, step by step, to the abolition of war.

Civil Society

1. To monitor and pressure governments to ensure that all the ten commitments made at the World Summit on Social Development become a reality for all. To assume our own responsibilities to help formulate and implement the national strategies for poverty eradication and to ensure the participation of the poor and marginalized communities. To create or strengthen mechanisms to monitor organizations that work against the interests of the poor.

2. To develop new relations and partnerships among community institutions, educators, scientists, researchers, local authorities, businesses, labor and NGOs in a constructive dialogue and planning process so that all can contribute their best. To pay special attention to those who have suffered most from poverty and to those who have the least opportunity to be heard by others. The poor must see themselves as real partners and must be empowered to enhance and employ their own abilities and resources in order to be of service to themselves, their families, their communities and their common home.

3. To exert our best efforts to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - affirming the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of ALL rights, civil, political, social, economic and cultural - and to join the global movement for human dignity.

4. To improve conditions for decent work, capacity building and participation. To encourage the media to help monitor the commitments that governments have made.

5. To dedicate attention to the special needs of the young and the elderly, especially those from the South, and to provide opportunities for them, including access to information, and all forms of health care and education, which are essential to the eradication of poverty.

6. To direct special action to decrease high levels of youth unemployment to all global stake-holders at local, national, regional and international levels.