Churches Needed for Ending Poverty: UK Premier

Churches are a vitally important institution for helping to end global poverty, UK Premier Gordon Brown said on Sunday.

"All through history the greatest social movements have been built on the strongest foundations of conscience and faith. From the abolition of slavery to the creation of children's rights to the emancipation of women to justice for the world's poor, the churches have been there," Brown said, according to UK religious think-tank Ekklesia.

"And today you fight for the greatest of causes - to get millions of children in to school, to stop women dying needlessly in childbirth, to get healthcare to those who need it - to make poverty history. We will not hesitate or give up or retreat - we will fight with you until justice is achieved," he continued.

Brown, who is looking to win his record fourth term in office during the May 6 elections, spoke at Wesley's Chapel in London as a part of World Poverty Day, which general election candidates have traditionally used to outline their campaign strategies for international development.

"Through a partnership between developing and developed countries – led by the South Africans – I believe it is possible that we could fill the gap in education budgets so that by 2015 every child in the world has access to a primary school education," Brown said.

"On aid - I believe we can strike a 200 billion dollar aid deal for 2015 in September. If we can firm up the 0.7 per cent pledges from the EU, build on the US commitment to double foreign assistance and encourage other G8 countries to lift their budgets, we can turn on real new resources".

The prime minister's remarks come ahead of a September world summit in New York where the U.N.'s Millenium Development Goals (MDG) will be reviewed.

The MDG's mark 2015 the target year to accomplish significant international development, including halving the number of impoverished people in the world and ensuring that children everywhere will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the upcoming summit a "crucially important opportunity to redouble our efforts to meet the Goals."

In a February report written to the U.N. General Assembly, Ban wrote that the prospect of falling of achieving the MDG's "because of a lack of commitment is very real" and called such an outcome "an unacceptable failure from both the moral and the practical standpoint."

"If we fail, the dangers in the world - instability, violence, epidemic diseases, environmental degradation, runaway population growth - will all be multiplied," the U.N. head wrote.

Ban continued to say that achievement of the MDG's "remains feasible with adequate commitment, policies, resources and effort."

"This promise is not based on pity or charity, but on solidarity, justice and the recognition that we are increasingly dependent on one another for our shared prosperity and security," he said.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News