The development agency Progressio is calling on UK Prime Minister David Cameron to "walk the talk" and make sure that the poorest people in the world get their chance to state their priorities for new poverty and environment goals, to be discussed in London this week.
The Prime Minister is meeting with other members of a High Level Panel (HLP) set up by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, to set out the long term priorities for action on poverty and environment. The new framework will to replace existing poverty reduction goals, known as the Millennium Development Goals, which are due to finish in 2015.
The panel is made up of government, civil society and business leaders, including Nobel peace prize winner Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, and President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
In September 2012 the Prime Minister said, "We have an opportunity as we do this work...to actually consult the poorest in the world and to ask, 'What it is that they want?', as we go about this process." Progressio is calling on the panel to "walk the talk", and deliver this promise in practice.
Arrangements have been made to meet with civil society organisations during this week's meetings. A week-long online consultation (from 22-26 October 2012), was also held.
But the timetable has been too short to consult the people who are most important for any new poverty reduction plan - poor people themselves. In addition, a set of national consultations organised by the UN in developing countries appear to be slow in getting off the ground.
Tim Aldred, Head of Policy at Progressio said: "The new development goals must be in line with the priorities of poor people themselves, not dreamt up behind a desk. Online consultations are all very well, but they are not much good if you live in a remote village without an internet connection."
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. The High Level Panel is expected to produce a report for the Secretary General in May 2013 and the UN national consultations are due to finish by end of February 2013.
Mr Aldred added: "The High Level Panel urgently needs to set out how it will consult with the poorest people. If the panel's report fails to reflect the opinions of the poorest people on our planet it will be a wasted opportunity. It may not be easy but that doesn't mean that it isn't possible. For our part, Progressio is committed to supporting any consultation process through our strong partnerships with grassroots poor communities in 11 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia."
* Progressio is a UK-based charity, formerly known as the Catholic Institute for International Relations, working internationally to help people gain power over their lives and overcome barriers that keep them poor. For further information see www.progressio.org.uk