The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework, which is due to expire at the end of this year (2015), has had a special, though not always adequate, focus on children. By drawing unparalleled attention to poverty and hunger, universal primary school education, child mortality, HIV and AIDS, Malaria and maternal health, the MDG’s have helped guide the efforts to improve the condition of millions of children. However, much more still remains to be done.
As the consensus focuses on building a new agenda for Sustainable Development from 2015 onwards, we at the Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty (End Child Poverty) believe that the best interests of the Child must not only be placed central to poverty eradication but also included in the design and implementation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda, with specific indicators stipulated on the perceived benefits for children and the youth.
We have also observed that forming strategic partnerships, alliances and collaborations have had a significant impact on development throughout the world. Perhaps one of the greatest testimonies to the potential gains is the efforts of the Global Fund and other interest communities to scale back HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. These have certainly helped turn the tide against debilitating pandemics.
The challenge before us now is to promote a strategic and globally coordinated action and partnerships whose goal is to eliminate child poverty within the global framework of the Post 2015 agenda.
We believe that such partnerships must place faith communities at the centre stage. Indeed, faith communities have a unique duty, role and contribution towards poverty eradication. Moreover, they have a prior commitment based on their spiritual calling and conviction to develop the human person, give hope, bring meaning to the lives of millions of people and protect the earth. Their local presence, and accessibility, moral authority, incredible resources, infrastructure, humanitarian work, mobilization potential, advocacy against socio-political and economic injustices provides them with a comparative advantages which cannot be ignored in any serious development framework. One can hardly imagine any other institution in the world with such capacity. Perhaps next only to the state machinery, Faith-Inspired Organizations and communities command the greatest development enterprise to date.
With these comparative advantages, in partnership with like minded individuals and organizations, faith communities must actively mobilize their unique resources and leverage towards the realization of sustainable development after 2015. This will certainly impact on ending all forms of poverty and child poverty in particular.