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Ending poverty

01.01.70

REVIVING the theme of fighting world poverty expounded at the last G8 summit, British Finance Minister Gordon Brown who is going to succeed Prime Minister Tony Blair during the present term called the other day for rich countries to strike 'a new deal' with developing countries to end poverty. "Poor countries must be empowered in trade, education and healthcare as we are talking about a new deal between the rich countries and poor countries of the world", Brown told his fellow party delegates stressing that debt relief was essential to lifting countries out of poverty.

What the British Chancellor of the Exchequer stated need not be elaborated as the rich nations whenever they assure of any such benevolent steps towards fellow poor section of the mankind riddled with abject poverty, disease and hunger, either little or no practical measures follow so far as experience goes. The G8 summiteers obviously are expected to be aware of the urgent measures as suggested by Brown about a year later though the theme of fighting global poverty was discussed and debated at the Scotland resort of Gleneagles where they had assembled to sound robust thinking about the world's poor. For, whatever is the reason whether to fulfil the lofty theme of G8 summit or to boost Brown's image ahead of becoming British Prime Minister is to be seen by action and not by words only.

The interesting aspect, meanwhile, is that the European Union leaders at their recent spring economic summit in Brussels were aimed at redynamising reforms to help revive the continent's long flagging economy apart from trying to downplay discord over resurgent protectionism in their 25-nation European bloc for trumpeting agreement on a joint energy strategy. Despite differences in many fields, the Europeans could forge unity under the banner of EU and could reach understanding at least for an 'Energy Policy for Europe'. The western countries are moving collectively for protecting their own interests and providing at least some suggestions for others.

We in South Asia are known as the world's poorest region mainly because the bulk of India's billion population out of region's nearly 1.4 billion is in stark poverty. Narrowing down the poverty level to a great extent would have been possible through vigorous collective cooperation under the SAARC with six other regional nations in last two decades. But all these moves in various fields like agriculture, water resources and energy under the regional forum could not move ahead effectively because of intransigent attitude of the region's big neighbour.

When we ourselves can't collectively improve our lot, the rich and developed western nations would, obviously, take advantage to dictate terms if they want to end our poverty their way. How far they come forward to that extent depends on their will and wisdom as Mr. Brown rightly hammers to continue the campaign for immediate debt relief as one of the means to achieve the goal.

Expert opinion

Halter Marek

02.12.06

Halter Marek
Le College de France
Olivier Giscard dEstaing

02.12.06

Olivier Giscard dEstaing
COPAM, France
Mika Ohbayashi

02.12.06

Mika Ohbayashi
Institute for Sustainable Energy Poliy
Bill Pace

02.12.06

Bill Pace
World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
Peter I. Hajnal

01.12.06

Peter I. Hajnal
Toronto University, G8 Research Group