Members of Make Poverty History discuss future strategy
Members of the Make Poverty History campaign met yesterday (Tuesday) to determine the next steps for the world-changing initiative, and look towards uniting the campaigns in the global north and south.
It comes a few weeks after the UK Chancellor Gordon Brown admitted that Britain had failed to complete its ambitious development agenda in 2005, and proposed a five-point plan to make good the omissions.
Attenders at yesterday's meeting formally wound up the organisation but reported a mood of both celebration and determination.
Activists looked back on their achievements of the last year, but were also reminded that the character of the campaign will change in 2006 as the commitment to action continues.
Coalition members such as the Methodist Church and the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF), stressed that active and collective campaigning on trade, debt and aid will continue into 2006.
'There is plenty to celebrate: 2005 was an amazing year", Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice at the Methodist Church, commented.
"Postcard campaigns, rallies at the G8 summit and lobbying at Westminster influenced political decisions that will change lives all over the world."
As a result of last years campaigning, nineteen countries have received further debt cancellation. This say campaigners has freed up vital resources for health and education spending.
G8 leaders also agreed an extra £50 billion of aid for Africa and the UK government appears to be taking on board some of the arguments for trade justice.
"Churches up and down the country contributed to these victories, adding their voices to those of millions of people worldwide who want to see an end to poverty' said Anthea Cox.
Kirsty Smith, Director of the Methodist Relief and Development Fund, added; 'It is time to deepen and extend our engagement with the issues, not diminish it because we have moved to a new stage in the fight against poverty.
"The energy and enthusiasm mobilised by Make Poverty History in 2005 was fantastic, but as with any major campaign, it takes more than one year to bring about real change. This momentum must not be lost and it's down to us to hold our politicians to the promises they made last year.
"2005 was a big year for campaigners in this country, with both the G8 and EU presidency held by the UK, but this is a worldwide campaign. Now we can all play a role in supporting the work of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), which unites anti-poverty campaigns in both North and South. MRDF partners Jubilee Debt Campaign and Trade Justice Movement, two of the core networks that make up Make Poverty History, will be instrumental in carrying on campaigning in 2006 and beyond.'