MAKE POVERTY HISTORY – the next steps

On Tuesday 31 January, MAKE POVERTY HISTORY member organisations met to determine the next steps for 2005's world-changing campaign. The mood was of celebration and determination. Activists were reminded that the character of the campaign will change in 2006, but the commitment to action continues. Coalition members, including the Methodist Church and the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF), stressed that active and collective campaigning on trade, debt and aid will continue into 2006.

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, commented: 'There is plenty to celebrate: 2005 was an amazing year, with Methodists expressing an overwhelming commitment to changing the lives of those affected by global poverty. Postcard campaigns, rallies at the G8 summit and lobbying at Westminster influenced political decisions that will change lives all over the world. As a result of this year of campaigning, nineteen countries have received further debt cancellation, freeing up vital resources for health and education spending; G8 leaders have agreed an extra £50 billion of aid for Africa and the UK government has begun to take on board the arguments for trade justice. Churches up and down the country contributed to these victories, adding their voices to those of millions of people worldwide who want to see an end to poverty.'

Kirsty Smith, Director of the Methodist Relief and Development Fund, said; 'It is time to deepen and extend our engagement with the issues, not diminish it because we have moved to a new stage in the fight against poverty. The energy and enthusiasm mobilised by MAKE POVERTY HISTORY in 2005 was fantastic, but as with any major campaign, it takes more than one year to bring about real change. This momentum must not be lost and it's down to us to hold our politicians to the promises they made last year. 2005 was a big year for campaigners in this country, with both the G8 and EU presidency held by the UK, but this is a worldwide campaign. Now we can all play a role in supporting the work of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), which unites anti-poverty campaigns in both North and South. MRDF partners Jubilee Debt Campaign and Trade Justice Movement, two of the core networks that make up MAKE POVERTY HISTORY, will be instrumental in carrying on campaigning in 2006 and beyond.'

MRDF partners Jubilee Debt Campaign and the Trade Justice Movement, two of the core networks that made up MAKE POVERTY HISTORY, will be instrumental in carrying on campaigning in 2006 and beyond. Methodists can visit www.mrdf.org.uk to join in new actions that build on the successes and challenges of 2005, or follow the link from www.methodist .org.uk.

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