Ending poverty requires listening to the poor, Progressio tells action panel

By agency reporter
November 6, 2012

Progressio has given direct feedback from its partners around the world to members of the High Level Panel (HLP) set up to discuss new goals for long-term action on poverty and the environment.

These goals will replace the existing poverty reduction targets, known as the Millennium Development Goals, due to finish in 2015.

Progressio says it sat down with other members of civil society groups, including representatives from the Philippines, Egypt and Colombia, "to talk about what that the poorest people in the world want and need from the Post 2015 development goals, so that we may end poverty in our time."

Although the time allowed for the online consultation was short, the agency says it had good responses from partners in Zimbabwe, Somaliland, Haiti and El Salvador to questions asked by the HLP prior to the meeting.

All the Country Reps stressed the importance of better involvement of poor and marginalised people in decision making. Progressio welcomed the opportunity to share their concerns, a spokesperson said.

Addressing four prominent members of the HLP, including Paul Polman CEO of Unilever and Emilia Pires, Finance Minister of Timor-Leste, Progressio's Head of Policy Tim Aldred raised important issues voiced by our partners. He stressed the links between tackling climate change and poverty, investing in improving governance in fragile states as well as the responsibility of big business to support, not undermine, action on poverty.

Minister Emilia Pires brought Timor-Leste's experience of recovering from conflict to the discussion, highlighting the challenges of rebuilding after war and violence.

Mr Aldred, who attended the meeting on Friday 2 November 2012, said he was "encouraged to see the HLP taking the issues of environmental sustainability and climate change seriously as these should be firmly linked to any future development goals."

Lis Martin, Progressio's Environment Policy and Advocacy Officer added that she "welcomes the HLP's engagement with civil society but encourages it to explain consultation plans ahead of the next meetings in Liberia and Indonesia. This will enable civil society organisations to have time to reach remote and often excluded communities so that they can make meaningful contributions to the discussions surrounding the Post 2015 development goals."

Carmen Menendez, Progressio Country Representative in El Salvador, confirmed the importance of not only defining development goals but also the ways in which they will be implemented and, crucially, how they will be funded.

Progressio welcomes the reaffirmation of the HLP to broad consultation, but says it remains vital for them to actually reach out to and hear from the poorest people before the next meeting in Liberia in 2013.

* Progressio is a UK-based charity working internationally "to help people gain power over their lives and overcome barriers that keep them poor." It was formerly known as the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR). www.progressio.org.uk


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