Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rich nations not meeting poverty pledge, UN says

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Wealthy nations are not making good on their pledge to deliver the money needed to halve extreme poverty worldwide by 2015, a panel of UN-appointed experts said in a new report.

Nations around the world have committed themselves to an ambitious programme of UN "millennium development goals" to improve the lot of the world's poor and suffering....

Despite promising to funnel 0.7 percent of gross national product (GNP) in aid to the developing world, the world's 22 richest countries are only giving 0.25 percent, the experts said.

Why am I not surprised at this news? Don't get me wrong - people and countries DO give a massive amount of money to those less fortunate than they are, and they should be commended for doing all that they do.

But there's still a problem... when millions of people are suffering and millions of children are dying, how can we be happy settling for the mere generosity of the rich and comfortable to help alleviate the pain and suffering of millions? Shouldn't we have systems in place to help these people that DO NOT DEPEND ON VOLUNTARY COMPASSION?

Voluntary compassion sounds great on paper but when the rubber hits the road, people don't sacrifice enough to truly fight these systemic problems. Think about it: when there is a big war, we institute a draft and stop depending on people's generosity to fight for their country. When it comes to fighting poverty, however, we seem quite content to settle for whatever individual generosity can bring us. How sad.


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