Global Policy Forum

Scottish Campaigners Keep Up

September 19, 2006

Leading church aid and development charities have joined with other agencies to launch Global Call to Action Against Poverty Scotland. Campaigners gathered at the German Consulate in Edinburgh to hand over a giant postcard with the words 'Keep Poverty on the Agenda' to a look-alike 'big head' of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The formation of GCAP Scotland comes at the beginning of a worldwide Month of Action against poverty. SCIAF (The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) and Christian Aid are among those involved. The initiative is being supported by music industry celebrities too.

Campaigners in Scotland say they want to build on the success of Make Poverty History and to ensure that politicians keep the promises made at Gleneagles in 2005. With the next G8 summit scheduled to take place in Germany in 2007, there are signs that some G8 countries want to push poverty off the agenda.

Eilidh Whiteford, Chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty Scotland declared: "Angela Merkel was recently named the most powerful woman in the world. We are urging her to use that influence to keep global poverty at the heart of the G8 agenda." She continued: "Campaigners in Scotland and Germany are part of a huge international movement demanding action from world leaders to deliver trade justice, debt relief, more and better aid, and tackle HIV and Aids. We will continue to put pressure on the world's leading politicians to make sure they work towards the eradication of poverty. "

Kumi Naidoo, founding Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, welcomed Scotland as the latest addition to the GCAP coalition. He commented: "I have worked with campaigners in Scotland over the last few years and I know the strength of feeling that exists towards poverty issues. In 2005 campaigners in Scotland played a key role in pushing trade, aid and debt onto the global agenda. It's great to see GCAP Scotland being launched now to continue that campaign. Naidoo added: "As we look towards next year's G8 in Germany, we are urging people to stand up against poverty once again, and make it clear to world leaders that they cannot slide poverty and its causes off the international agenda."

Rock Star Annie Lennox, who has also committed to the Darfur peacekeeping appeal, was among those who gave her backing to the launch of GCAP Scotland. She said: "I think that it is wonderful that people throughout the world are continuing the fight to stand up against poverty. At the start of the 21st century more than a billion people are trapped in extreme hardship. Forty million people globally live with HIV and AIDS, most of them in the world's poorest countries. World leaders have the power to tackle the issues that surround poverty; we must make sure that they exercise that power properly."

Internationally-known Scottish band Proclaimers, who back SCIAF, added: "We welcome the creation of GCAP Scotland. It is right that Scotland builds on the legacy that was created by Make Poverty History. Last year, quarter of a million people gathered in Edinburgh to call for more and better aid, fairer trade rules and debt cancellation. The leaders meeting at the G8 made some changes but even once they are in place, a child will still die every 3.5 seconds from preventable diseases. We can change that shocking statistic."

More Information on NGOs
More Information on the G8 Protest: Gleneagles
More Information on the Gleneagles G8 Summit
More Information on the Group of Seven / Group of Eight
More Information on Debt Relief
More General Analysis on Poverty and Development


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