Let’s put an end to lip service and feed the world [Irish Examiner]
Monday, 18 Oct 2010
THIS weekend marks World Food Day (October 16) and UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17).
Sceptics may argue that such international days are simply occasions for more talk and handwringing, but I think it is important, especially in these days of unremitting doom and gloom about our own financial woes, to consider the global picture and how we fit into it.
The drive to eradicate world poverty and hunger are firmly on the national and international agenda – just as they have been for many years as politicians the world over continue to give little more than lip service to the needs of the world’s poor.
At the turn of the millennium more than 150 world leaders, including 100 heads of state, gave renewed hope to the world, especially the poor and the hungry, by promising they would fund programmes and partnerships that would offer the poor and their children a brighter future.
There is nothing like a big occasion or the attention of the world’s media to bring brave words and big promises from politicians, but delivering on these promises is often a different kettle of fish. So it has proved with delivery of the eight millennium development goals promised a decade ago.
Some progress has been made but there is still much to be done to alleviate the suffering of the many hundreds of millions of people living in poverty and hunger. According to the UN, the number of hungry people in the world this year is 925 million.
That means we are way off the target of halving the numbers of poor and hungry people by 2015, which is the first of the eight millennium development goals. Of course the question is what to do to get back on track to achieving the millennium goals?
There has been much debate on this issue. But talk is cheap and, as we are constantly being reminded, the international economy has taken a nosedive.
While the debate continues the poor continue to suffer the pain and indignity of hunger, pain and suffering of every imaginable kind.
Hundreds of millions of children are denied their basic rights to education, healthcare and protection from exploitation and abuse. Each and every day thousands of them die of preventable causes. The average citizen would be wrong to assume there is nothing he or she can do about these and other obscenities which continue to cause so much human misery. Everyone of us can be a champion for the poor in some way.
Apart from making donations to a favourite charity we also have the right to make representations to our elected representatives. I would therefore urge everyone to contact their TDs and senators to voice their concern for the world’s poor.
If politicians hear enough from their constituents about their concerns for the less well off of this world, then perhaps they will insist this country honours the promises we made at the UN a decade ago. Dóchas, the umbrella organisation which represents many of Ireland’s development organisations, has established a website, www.actnow2015.ie where readers can email their TDs or senators.
126 Lr Baggot Street
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