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Challenge for a new year: The eradication of global poverty

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NEWS F Av Embargoed until 31 December, 1995


1996 is the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. Today the heads of several Australian non-government organisations (NGO'e) called upon Australians to make a new year’s resolution to help work strenuously towards the goal of eradicating global poverty.

Each year the world produces 10% more food than is necessary to feed the entire planet. Yet 1.5 billion people in the world live in ‘absolute poverty'. Almost thirteen million children every year, or 35,000 a day, die from malnutrition and common diseases - many of them hunger related,

The world has the resources, the technology and the ability to eradicate global poverty. All that is needed is the political will.

Michael Whitcley, the National Director for Australian Catholic Relief, stated: "Most of today’s conflicts have as their basic cause poverty and a desperate need by over half the world's population to have more equal access to such things as food, water and health care. This poverty will only be eradicated when the intentional community takes much more

seriously its obligation to support programs with the sole aim of making essential services available to all who need them."

Beds Gwynne, the International Programs Executive with World Vision Australia, says that a re-ordering of priorities is needed: "The eradication of poverty seems like an unachievable goal, but with the support of over 160,000 Australians, World Vision’s work shows how much can be achieved with just a slight re-ordering of priorities. I’m embarrassed when I think of how skewed the distribution of resources is on the planet, I believe current generations will

be held to a n r n n n f if wo Hoo-t to toko poverty e r a d iv a llu ii aiiu e n v iro n m e n t goals


Eric Ellem, the National Director of AU8TCARE, stated: “In 1996 AUSTCARE is focussing on the need to eradicate the causes of poverty and suffering affecting millions of displaced people including Bosnians, Palestinians, Rwandans and Afghans. To eradicate the poverty of these

and countless millions of others requires all governments, groups and Individuals to embrace and endorse principles and instruments which protect the human rights of all."

Jeremy Hobbs, the Executive Director of Community Aid Abroad, urged Australians to start the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty with a new year’s resolution to join the anti-poverty campaign.

* The gap between the world's rich and poor is widening because of the deliberate decisions and actions by a minority of wealthy nations", he said. "By making a donation to organisations

ACFOA is the ctHxtililatng DoOy for sene 100 AustraJiJui non-goverrvne<*t orgsnisa!i'_ns wanting in »,e field ol overseas aid and d&vefopmen!. PRIVATE BAG 3. DEAKIN ACT 2600 - 14 NAPIER CLOSE, DEAKIN, ACT TELEPHONE: 06 285 1816 FAX: 06 285 1720 EMAIL’ acfo» ® pyg.apc.dry


like Community Aid Abroad with a strong track record of fighting the causes of poverty here and abroad, Australians can help make a difference."

Tricia Caswell, the Executive Director of PLAN International Australia says that the eradication of poverty is humankind’s greatest challenge.

"As the root cause of everything from child enslavement, to wars, and the destruction of tho u'crld’e nature!, pw eiiy iuums as me major threat to sustainable civilisation. PLAN International Australia calls upon all Australians to do their best this year to bolster the capacities of sister and brother countries In the grip of poverty. Such international partnership

will we guarantee a safe future for us all."

Kath McGinty, Executive Director of the International Women’s Development Agency, Australia’s Only mu' agency working solely for women, stated: "When 7n% of the 1.?. h:!!!on ρ-C vle vr. toss :γ, λγ. - .:-y -re women, *.G5G muaL a major increase ;n women specific aid ftnenriing. Anything less does not «duress me Tact that the vast majority of the

world’s poor are women."

Gary Simpson, the Executive Secretary of the Australian Lutheran World Service, stated: "In the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty, we Australian;: need to reflect υμυη o u r relative attluence when compared with the poverty of people In developing countries, and resolve to help overcome poverty by using our God-given gilts and talents in a practical and

direct manner."

Bill Armstrong, the Executive Director of the Overseas Service Bureau, stated: “The eradication of poverty in our world might seem like an Impossible task, but then 50 years ago, so did the eradication of smallpox. We are constantly told that our world produces enough food to feed everyone in it, and that the resources are there to provide every human being with shelter, clean water and access to education. What is stopping us as a global community

from achieving these things is the political will, Let’s all decide that our new year's resolution is not to let the ’too difficult’ get in the way of the possible, and start to lift the burden of poverty and despair off the backs of the poor."

Lurlene Price, the Social Development Programme Convenor for the United Nations Association of Australia said that while global poverty will not be eradicated within twelve months, 1996 gives us the opportunity to take the issue seriously.

"The principal significance of this U.N. designated year will be to draw attention, both nationally and internationally, to the need to take seriously the goal of eradicating poverty and Instilling in the public consciousness the sense that this is a reachable goal within a reasonable time span."

The following people Michael Whlteley Beris Gwynne Eric Ellem Jeremy Hobbs Tricia Caswell

Kath McGinty Gary Simpson Bill Armstrong Lurlene Price Wendy Rose

are available for comment: Australian Catholic Relief World Vision Australia AUSTCARE (from Jan, 3)

Community Aid Abroad PLAN International Australia Int. Women's Development Agency Aust. Lutheran World Service Overseas Service Bureau

United Nations Assoc, of Aust. Save the Children Fund of Aust.

(02) 587 2333 (03) 9877 6169 or 0015 339 536 (02) 565 9111 (03) 9481 0375 0411 265 527 0411 157 697

(060) 251 001 018 066 353 (02) 363 0786 or 363 3139 (03) 9417 7662 or 9857 7396