ACTU President Sharan Burrow will join with U2 singer Bono to launch the ‘Global Call to Action Against Poverty’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland early tomorrow (Sat.)

World leaders including UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and Brazil’s President
Lula (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) will join with CIVICUS head Kumi Naidoo,
global activist Bono and Sharan Burrow, the newly elected President of the
global union body – ICFTU, in launching a renewed call for governments around
the world to make a commitment to end poverty.

Renewed international action to end global poverty has emerged as the number
one priority for the World Economic Forum currently meeting in Davos,

Media Conference & Picture Opportunity

[1.15am Saturday 29 January AEST]

3.15 pm Friday 28 January – Swiss time

  • Sharan Burrow, ACTU and Global Union President
  • Bono – U2 singer and global activist
  • Gordon Brown, UK Chancellor of Exchequer
  • Brazil President Lula
  • Kumi Naidoo – head of CIVICUS (international civil society)
  • World Economic Forum, Davos

    For more information about the media conference venue and the WEF:

    Media Contacts:
    Sharan Burrow 0419 303 849
    Tim Noonan – ICFTU
    Communications Director, +32 475 670 833
    Susannah Greenleaf, ACTU Media
    (Melbourne) 0418 479 455

    ICFTU Media Release Issued 27 January 2005 (AEST)

    International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

    Launch Of Global Poverty Movement Sets Challenges To World Leaders

    Porto Alegre, 27 January 2005 – The Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), the biggest ever global mobilization to hold governments accountable for the promises they made to eradicate poverty, was launched today at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

    Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, expressed his
    solidarity and support for the global call and delivered a speech before the
    12.000 people that gathered at the Gigantinho stadium wearing white bands, the
    symbol of the campaign.

    The Global Call to Action against Poverty is a
    worldwide alliance of hundreds of organisations.
    These comprise grassroots
    organizations, trade
    , women’s groups, non-governmental organizations, human right
    advocates, international civil society and faith groups. The campaign is calling
    on world leaders to fulfill their commitments on trade justice, more and better
    aid and full debt cancellation. It is also demanding transparency and
    accountability from all governments in their plans to eliminate poverty and
    reach the Millennium Development Goals.

    “This should be the year in
    which governments keep their promises and respond to the more than one billion
    people who are living in absolute poverty, who demand justice,” said Guy Ryder,
    GCAP representative and General Secretary of the ICFTU, a
    founding member of the campaign
    . At the launch today, Ryder highlighted that
    achieving more and better jobs for workers, with full respect for their basic
    rights, as the most important single means of increasing poor peoples’ incomes
    and cutting poverty.

    Speaking at the launch today, John Samual on behalf
    of GCAP said, “We need a shift in national and international policies and
    agendas. At a time when bombs, security and terror dominate the political agenda
    it’s imperative to bring poverty into the centre of government thinking. We just
    can´t afford to keep quiet when 50,000 people die of poverty related causes
    every day and the rich and the powerful chose to ignore it. GCAP is a wake up
    call to people in both rich and poor countries to mobilize and force their
    governments to take action.”

    Leaders around the world have made endless
    promises to end poverty. In 2000, they committed to halving extreme poverty and
    hunger by 2015 by signing the Millennium Development Goals; to establish fair
    trade rules at the World Trade Organization development round in 2001; and to
    end the burden of debt that forces low income countries to pay $100 million
    every day to their creditors.

    “The truth is that little has been done.
    At the current rates of progress, it will take more than a 100 years, not ten,
    for many countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals”, says Wahu
    Kaara, a GCAP representative from Africa.

    During 2005 millions of people
    are expected to demand that world leaders fulfill their promises at three key “White Band Days”: the G8 summit in July in UK, at the UN General Assembly in
    September and in December at the WTO Ministerial meeting in HK. The white band
    is a symbol of the united call to end poverty once and for all.

    “This is
    a really crucial moment in the global fight against poverty. We are a massive
    and diverse group which has come together this year to demand change. It is high
    time for action on trade justice, improved aid and debt cancellation. So, our
    message today is that united we cannot be ignored by our governments,” said
    Coumba Toure from GCAP Africa who presented President Lula with a white band
    during the launch event.

    The GCAP demands that in 2005 world

  • Immediately end dumping and rich country subsidies that keep people in
  • Enact measures to protect public services from enforced liberalisation and
    privatisation, secure the right to food and affordable access to essential drugs
    and strengthen corporate accountability
  • Increase accountability and transparency of governments and international
    organizations in the formulation of international trade rules and national trade
  • Give more, untied and better aid now to achieve the Millennium Development
  • Meet the agreed target of 0.7% of national income in overseas
  • Ensure aid is directed towards achieving development
  • Cancel debt – rich countries, the World Bank and the IMF should cancel 100%
    of the debt of the poorest countries in order to reach the Millennium
    Development Goals.
  • National efforts to eliminate poverty and to reach the Millennium Goal that
    are developed and implemented in a way that is democratic, transparent and
    accountable to citizens.
  • Website

    The ICFTU
    represents 148 million workers in 231 affiliated organisations in 150 countries
    and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions: