See below statement I just delivered at the U.N. In New York, I was asked to speak as a civil society representative at the High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development on behalf of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty /CIVICUS.
It seemed to be positively received with the representative of Brazil supporting the statement and the need for systemic change in the global financial architecture in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and lift millions of men women and children out of poverty.
I had to speak quite slowly given my Scottish Accent and I was sitting at the table last occupied by a member of the Indian delegation and next to the Kenyan delegation which I found quite omenous!
Thank you for the honour of inviting civil society to participate in this High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development and the MDGs, my name is Rajiv Joshi and I am here with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, which is honoured to be part of the President of the General Assembly’s Task Force on CSO Dialogue towards the MDG Summit. GCAP is the worlds largest civil society movement calling for an end to global poverty and inequality, with national coalitions, civil society organisations and constituency groups in over 100 countries, representing peoples at the grassroots, from landless in India, Indigenous peoples in the Amazon to Auto workers in Detroit, all victims of the same system.
We see this issue and the need to connect development financing to accelerate the MDGs as not only a financial question, but also a moral question. This moral crises is guilty of the 7 sins Mahatma Gandhi described nearly a century ago. We see a world of:
- Wealth without work
- Pleasure without conscience
- Knowledge without Character
- Commerce without morality
- Science without humility
- Worship without sacrifice
- Politics without principles
Last year over 4.3% of world GDP was found to stabilise the worlds economies, while we recognise this was essential to save jobs and lives of people around the world, we cannot understand why, the 1% of World GDP needed to overcome poverty and tackle climate insecurity, cannot be found.
Millions of ordinary people are calling on their leaders to recognise the fierce urgency of now and act with the emergency measures needed, in October, the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the UN Millennium Campaigned mobilised 2.5% of the worlds population, 173 men, women and children against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals. These citizens are also calling time on the global governance deficit, and seeking systemic change.
Nationally this means greater transparency and inclusive participation, strengthening the capacity of civil society to hold governments accountable for their promises to people. Accountability is key, and without it, development finance will not flow to the most vulnerable and corruption will continue to infect national development processes.
Globally too, the deficit of governance must be addressed, this means a community of power, inclusiveness and participation of less developed economies and greater transparency and accountability. The time has come for systemic change; the status quo is leading us to disaster. Without equitable governance, development finance will not flow to those most in need.
As we look towards the MDG Summit, we recognise that this is the worlds last chance to salvage the promises made in the millennium development goals. The time for words has passed. People living in poverty must see action and results. This requires specific, measurable, binding and time-bound measures, which mobilise the scale of resources, required and empower people to lift themselves out of poverty.
We recognise that these emergency measures to rescue the MDGs need systemic change, as victims of an unjust system, we are calling for innovative financing including proposals such as a financial transaction tax and currency taxes, which are needed to mobilise the capital required to achieve ‘real’ development and tackle climate change. We are serious. This is a major crisis. Without unprecedented action and a change of heart, none of the MDGs will be reached, not only would this undermine the legitimacy and capacity of International Institutions and processes, but it will fail billions of people struggling in a lob sided world.
We need people centred solutions which put women and young people at the centre, we note that increasing feminisation of poverty while it is estimated that an additional 300, 000 children have perished as a result of the economic crises. We ended the decade with 50% more people living in poverty than when the MDGs were first envisaged. If we are to end the next decade with a fairer more just world, we need solutions, which are consistent, the fierce urgency of now and acknowledge the failures of the current system.
While we place our fragile world in the hands of our leaders, we, as civil society wish to be seen as partners in development, we hope that civil society will no longer be excluded, while we see civil society space shrinking around the world, we remain hopeful that our voices here are not only listened too, but also heard. If civil society is truly involved, we believe we can work together to build a more just and equitable world for all peoples.