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2015 crucial to ending global poverty, hunger, suffering

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 2015 NDPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described 2015 as a crucial and decisive time for world leaders and global actors to take steps that would end world hunger, poverty and suffering.

According to a dispatch, the Liberian leader spoke Saturday, June 6, 2015 when she addressed a huge crowd of over 15,000 politicians, musicians, peace activists, celebrities and civil society leaders at a public mobilization and poverty eradication outdoor event in Munich, Germany. She said the year 2015 is a pivotal year to change the future of world's people and the planet.

The public gathering was organized by the international lobby and campaign organization ONE and The Global Poverty Project. The campaigners, who also included German and International Civil Society groups, called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders to overcome extreme poverty by 2030.

The occasion was held at the Königsplatz in the center of Munich. The message to world leaders was: “It’s time to keep your promise and show courageous leadership – we must act now to end extreme poverty.”

It was held under the theme: “United against Poverty/Zusammen gegen Armut,” President Sirleaf said the decisions and actions that global leaders and actors collectively take in the next few months will go a long way to determining whether development progress continues or stalls.

She said in September, at the United Nations General Assembly, world leaders will adopt a new agenda, building upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to establish global goals for sustainable development achievable in the next 15 years.

The Liberian leader said July this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia important decisions will be taken at the Finance and Development meeting when nations, both rich and poor, will demonstrate commitment by policies and resources to the New World Order and in December, in Paris, France, nations will determine the path to respond to a changing world due to climate change.

President Sirleaf noted that an important precursor to these meetings will take place from June 7-8 in Germany as primary leaders of the world, the G7, meet to discuss the global economy, global security and the development policies that will drive the new global agenda.

''The call from this audience today is a call to the G7 and to leaders of rich and developed nations all over the world to support the ambitious and robust post-2015 development goals to commit to provide 0.7 percent of gross national income in official development assistance, to commit to reduce the debt distress of the highly indebted poor countries,'' the Liberian President said. 

She told the cheering crowd that it has been 25 years since the end of the cold war, 25 years since Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, 25 years since democracy began to sweep full force across the developing world, and now 15 years since the international community established the Millennium Development Goals.

''There is no doubt that enormous progress has been made in developing countries as a result of strong international partnership,” President Sirleaf stressed, adding, “sub-Saharan Africa is a clear example where malaria mortality has been cut nearly in half since 2000 and AIDS related deaths fell by one-third in just eight years between 2005 and 2013.'' 

She said the mortality rate for children under-five has fallen by nearly half since 1990; literally saving millions of lives every year. Primary school enrollment has jumped from 52 percent to 77 percent since 1990 with the biggest increases for girls. Primary school enrollment for girls are now almost at parity with boys, which is a huge difference from 25 years ago and that the share of people in sub-Saharan Africa living in extreme poverty has fallen from 61 percent in 1993 to 47 percent in 2011. 

Quoting a World Bank study, President Sirleaf revealed that almost half the world’s over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s seven richest nations combined; nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and less than one percent of what the world spent every year on weapons should have put every child into school by the year 2000.

The Liberian leader told the gathering that the world can eradicate extreme poverty, get more children in school with much higher quality education, and ensure that women have greater property rights and greater access to health, education and finance.

She noted that by sustained development with people at the center, the world can stop illegal migration, and remove the global threats of infectious disease. “We can – as call for in the Sustainable Development Goals – strive for a world that is just, equitable and in the year 2030 a World Without Extreme Poverty,” she pointed out.

Also speaking at the event was the German Federal Development Minister Gerd Muller, who said the event demonstrates the campaigners’ determination to see a world that is just and livable for every human population.

Mr. Muller said the world leaders need to act to ensure equitable distribution of the world's resources thus ending hunger, poverty and disease.

Among those attending the event were ; Hugh Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Global Citizens; Adrian Lovett, Executive Director of ONE; American musician Usher and Kweku Mandela, the grandson of the late South African President and Civil Rights Campaigner, Nelson Mandela. Press Statement

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