Muslim Aid Media Centre

‘Poor will not be forgotten’ - Gordon Brown Reassures NGOs

Speaking to a pre-G20 meeting of NGOs on 31st March in London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Prime Minister Gordon Brown reaffirmed his Government’s commitment “never ever [to] forget our obligations to the poor”. He said that “even while others may use this financial crisis as an excuse […] nothing will divert the United Kingdom from keeping to our commitments to the Millennium Development Goals and to our promises of development and aid”. He also suggested greater assistance and strengthening for the public sector and NGOs. Also taking part at the event were the Muslim Aid’s Chairman, Sir Iqbal Sacranie and trustee Dr Muhammed Jafer Qureshi. 

Muslim Aid’s Chairman, Sir Iqbal Sacranie said “this meeting is very encouraging as it sets the tone for G20. This global conversation must go beyond how advanced and emerging economies will work together to stabilise the global economy, we must ensure that the voice of the world’s poorest are heard and their humanitarian needs are met. NGOs and faith groups are a crucial part of ensuring this happens on the ground. An inclusive economic system must be sought.”

The G20 summit - a summit of the world’s 20 most powerful Heads of State and Government- is being held in London on April 2nd 2009 to discuss plans to to tackle the current economic crisis. One of the main focuses of the summit is to agree a blueprint for future reform of the world financial system, including changes to international organisations responsible for regulating the world economy, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to give a greater voice to poorer countries, and more resources. A ‘renewed hope for the future’ in the words of Gordon Brown.

According to a study on the impact of the recession in five developing nations published by Institute of Development, people living in the world's poorest communities are eating less frequently and are consuming less nutritious food as a result of the global financial crisis. Many poor families hit by the economic downturn are also removing their children from school, and in a number of countries children are being pushed into work early as a consequence of the international crisis.

Gordon Brown also told faith leaders and NGO representatives that the world must adopt global economic rules based on common values. He went on to say: “I believe that both markets and governments have a responsibility to serve the public interest that the poor are our shared responsibility and that wealth carries unique responsibilities too.

Charities including Oxfam, Comic Relief and Save the Children have joined to create G20Voice, a blogging site where 50 bloggers from around the world, both professionals and ordinary citizens, are invited to attend the G20 conference and put questions to leaders. It is the first time bloggers will have the same access as the mainstream media to a major political meeting.

It is hoped that the G20 voice will provide a platform for some of the 53 million people who will be kept below the poverty line due to the crisis, surviving on less than $2 a day.

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