“Two major injustices — inequality and climate change — are threatening to undermine the efforts of millions of people to escape poverty and hunger. By concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a few, inequality robs the poorest people of the support they need to improve their lives. And as climate change devastates crops and livelihoods, it undoes poor people’s efforts to feed their families.
But an historic opportunity is on the horizon as the sun sets on the Millennium Development Goals. Right now the UN is in the midst of a heated debate about the new set of Sustainable Development Goals. This new framework for global development could end poverty and save the planet.
Laudable progress has been made under the MDGs, which are set to expire next year. The goal to halve extreme poverty has been met — an achievement to celebrate. The MDGs have inspired a common purpose and ambition, and there have been many development successes over the last 14 years.
Yet the twin challenges of inequality and climate change have not been adequately tackled — and Oxfam fears the same mistake will be made again. If we are to create a fairer, healthier world, the new Sustainable Development Goals must be ambitious, and backed up by strong action on climate change.
Recently, Oxfam revealed that the world’s 85 richest people have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. That figure was recently revised. Now the richest 66 have the same as the bottom half of humanity. If the global community fails to curb the widening gap, a host of related economic and social problems will ensue, including the undermining of efforts to eradicate poverty. We can only lift up those at the bottom if we tackle the extreme wealth at the top.
At the same time, climate change is threatening to undo progress made in confronting poverty over the last decade. More than 800 million people are at risk of hunger. Through its devastating impact on crops and livelihoods, climate change is predicted to increase that number by as much as 20 percent by 2050.”
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