World leaders must renew focus on tackling poverty and inequality, says London MEP

WORLD leaders must focus on providing more decent work for women and young people as well as eradicating poverty and hunger, London MEP Jean Lambert has said.

In a message for International Day for the Elimination of Poverty the Green Euro-MP has called for the UN to step up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals – and really make poverty history once and for all.

She said: “The Millennium Development Goals gave us a great framework for reducing global poverty, by adopting the targets of halving the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day, achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people, and halving by 2015, the number of people suffering hunger and malnutrition.

While the first target has been achieved, we have a long way to go if we are to achieve the second and third by 2015: unemployment is rising across much of the world – especially among young people – and there are estimated to be as many as 800 million people going to bed hungry each night: 100 million of them children under the age of five.

Greens have worked tirelessly to promote work designed to meet these targets: here in the EU, for example, we have championed the idea of a Youth Guarantee – a promise that everyone aged under 25 in the EU will have either a job or a training place – and, just today, we are hosting a discussion with the European Anti-Poverty Network on how best to ensure social goals are built in to the EU’s financial regulations.

But eradicating poverty is a matter for all of us – all over the world. Austerity measures following the 2008 financial crisis means poverty is, more than ever, a truly global problem – and not just a development issue – and inequality is growing, dividing societies even further.

Just last week I saw for myself the impact of ongoing poverty on the lives of Londoners during a visit to a community food bank in the capital.

I hope we see a renewed focus on tackling poverty and inequality from world leaders today, in the UK and EU as well as in the developing world.”

Jean Lambert is one of eight MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.

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