A Fairtrade appeal to world leaders on the eve of the MDG Summit

14 September 2010

Ten years ago, UN member states adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, a document that affirms a global commitment to eradicate poverty. From this document emerged the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals that address key development challenges around the world:

  • MDG1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty & Hunger
  • MDG2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
  • MDG3: Promote Gender Equality And Empower Women
  • MDG4: Reduce Child Mortality
  • MDG5: Improve Maternal Health
  • MDG6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria And Other Diseases
  • MDG7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
  • MDG8: Develop A Global Partnership For Development

The target date for achieving the MDGs is 2015.

Progress on the goals has been mixed – there are many success stories, but also many shortcomings. There is a consensus that without additional resources and commitments, many of the goals will not be met. Other factors like the inability of states to successfully conclude the Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations have also affected MDG efforts.

From 20-22 September, heads of state and government from around the world will meet at the UN General Assembly for the MDG Review Summit to discuss progress made over the last decade and ways in which progress can be accelerated in the remaining years.

Fairtrade and our partners contribute toward the MDGs in several ways:

  • the Fairtrade Minimum Price, which serves as a safety net for producers when market prices fall below levels of sustainable production, can be critical in keeping producers out of poverty;
  • the Fairtrade Premium is used by producers and their communities to fund projects for social, economic and environmental development;
  • and Fairtrade Standards ensure environmental protection.

The MDGs are collective goals – goals against which all member states of the UN will be collectively measured – and were not designed to be country specific. This is one of the reasons why the last goal, MDG8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development, is so important. Effective and committed global partnerships are a prerequisite for achieving the other MDGs.

Fairtrade makes its most significant contribution to MDG8. More equitable global trade has been recognised as perhaps the key instrument to achieving the development vision enshrined in the MDGs. Stephan Klaus Ohme, German Commissioner for the Millennium Development Goals, has said that “positive trade relations are probably the most important international factor for development in a globalised world.”

At Fairtrade we welcome the fact that trade’s important role in development is featured prominently in the “Zero Draft” of the MDG Review Summit Outcome Document (PDF) and that the document calls for accelerated efforts to conclude the Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations.

We call on the world leaders gathering in New York next week to ensure that intentions are translated into actions, specifically that:

  • the Doha Development Round is concluded in a way that lives up to its expectations for development;
  • that leaders commit to promote and fund initiatives that boost equitable trade, including the use of innovative financing mechanisms that are beyond the scope of traditional Official Development Assistance (ODA).

With only five years remaining until the 2015 deadline, anything less than a highly ambitious outcome from the Summit will be a betrayal of commitments made in the Millennium Declaration.

Reference
Ohme, Stephan Klaus (2009): Global parameters for the implementation of the MDGs up to and beyond 2015 – challenges and current discussion (PDF)

 

 

 
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