The United Nations meeting on poverty and hunger reduction, which has been engineered by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, will begin in New York, on September 20, and will focus its efforts on ways and means to obtain the financing necessary to reduce social inequality around the world.
A technical group, consisting of representatives from Brazil, Chile, France and Spain, created to discuss funding mechanisms, presented its report yesterday.
The report contains guidelines that will be endorsed by at least 55 leaders at the UN meeting.
Among the group’s suggestions are taxing international financial transactions and arms sales, combating tax evasion and fiscal paradises, voluntary contributions and greater safeguards for remittances by immigrants.
Lula’s idea for the meeting is to find the money to combat inequality without being utopian about the issue or trying to set up some kind of World Fund Against Poverty.
“UN studies show that the resources exist. So why not use them for social causes,” explains Maria Nazareth Farani, of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations.
She goes on to say that an estimated US$ 17 billion could be raised by taxing international financial transactions and arms sales. “The problem is to find the political will to mobilize these resources,” says Farani.
Farani also explains that no new international taxes will be invented to pay for the fight against hunger. “These will be domestic taxes that each country will have total control over,” she says.
Four years ago, 191 countries signed the Millennium Declaration which establishes eight goals to be reached by 2015. If achieved, there will be a worldwide reduction in poverty and inequalities, besides making sustainable development more possible.
To discuss those goals, analyze what has been done and what still remains to be done, Brazil promoted, last month, the first Citizenship and Solidarity Week.
“We want to remind people of the existence of the goals and make them aware of what they are,” explained Oded Grajew, one of the leaders of the event and president of the Ethos Institute.
“This is something that has never been done before in the world,” says Grajew, adding that he sees it as an example for others.
The event’s motto was “We Can!” and it was accompanied by a publicity campaign that emphasised “Eight Ways to Change the World.”
The eight goals in the Millennium Declaration are: eradicate hunger and misery, provide everyone with quality basic education, promote gender equality and protect women’s rights, reduce infant mortality rates, improve healthcare for pregnant women, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, increase quality of life and respect the environment while working for development.