Brown calls on private sector skills to end global poverty

Brown to push for millenium development goals
Brown to push for millenium development goals

Gordon Brown plans to exploit the expertise in large multinationals to help reinvigorate efforts to cut global poverty.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Brown said companies such as Google, Goldman Sachs and Wal-Mart could help end the "development emergency" in the poorest countries.

The prime minister believes the private sector could be used to upgrade skills, improve infrastructure and provide capital for investment.

The suggestion comes as Mr Brown plans a series of flashpoints for 2008 to galvanise the international community behind development goals.

In 2000, the UN set targets for improving poverty, education, health and sanitation in the world's poorest countries by 2015 but campaigners warn the millennium development goals are unlikely to be realised.

In an interview with the newspaper, Mr Brown said: "We are halfway to the target date of 2015, but a long way off track to our goals and face a development emergency.

"2008 should be a development year and mark a call to action from everyone - not just rich and poor governments but civil society, faith groups, trade unions and even the private sector.

"There are 72 million children not going to primary school, in some countries one woman in six dies in childbirth, over a billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.

"The international community needs to face up to this development emergency. We know what to do - we need to keep our promises and act."

Mr Brown is calling for a dedicated action meeting on the millennium development goals when the UN general assembly meets in New York in September.

The move will "re-examine and galvanise our efforts", the prime minister believes.

The British government will also lobby world leaders at the G8 summit in Japan in the summer as well as a meeting of business leaders in London in the spring.

A UN report published today confirms the international community has achieved limited progress towards achieving the millennium development goals.

Today's announcement, which was notably not made by development secretary Douglas Alexander, also sees the prime minister attempt to regain leadership as he comes under pressure to show the "vision" of his embattled government.


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