Towards a just, equitable and poverty free world

Citizens from every continent will expect bold and decisive action from World leaders when they meet in September to review the implementation of the Millennium Summit held five years ago. “We live in a critical time” said Roberto Bissio, Coordinator of Social Watch “with very real threats to humanity and to the environment on which we all depend. Business as usual is no longer an option. We need an ambitious strategy to secure the future of the world for generations to come.” Bissio was launching the Social Watch “Benchmark for the 5-year Review of the Millennium Declaration” for the September meeting, containing a set of expectations established through a process of consultation with its active citizens’ coalitions from all parts of the world.

The document notes that in the face of the September 2001 attacks on the United States a “military concept of security is prevailing that promotes security for some through the concentration of power in the hands of a few.” This doctrine undermines global stability and the very purpose for which the United Nations was created.

 For Social Watch “inequality and social exclusion are major sources of national and international instability and conflict. Those struggling to survive seek the means to live, while those who have more than enough protect what they have and often seek to accumulate more. An adequate response to poverty will only be found in comprehensive and redistributive initiatives that address all aspects of inequality, where particular attention is given to the gender dimension”. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the agreed timelines is an international obligation, but only the most urgent part of what is needed.

In this document Social Watch’s membership enumerates an eleven-point set of expectations for the outcome of the September meeting which puts respect for human rights, ecological sustainability and government accountability at the centre of international actions. It calls for the democratization of international institutions in which a reformed United Nations “regains a political centrality” that ensures effective democratic, transparent and accountable decision-taking. In such a system a “reformed Economic and Social Council should be the ultimate legal global authority for economic and social affairs, whose decisions are enforceable”.

See the Social WatchBenchmark paper