A Fitting Challenge

With more than 120,

With more than 120,000 participants, the World Social Forum—held this winter in Porto Alegre, Brazil—resembles a sea of humanity locked in vibrant discourse. The gathering loosely ties together the various threads of what has become a multifaceted movement to build a radically more democratic, peaceful, and just world. The Global Call to Action Against Poverty—a worldwide alliance committed to making world leaders keep their promises on initiatives against poverty—in 2005 represented one of the most visible initiatives at the forum.

This is a pivotal year due to British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to make global poverty and Africa the focus of this summer’s G8 meeting. The July meeting, to be held in Scotland, brings together heads of state from the world’s wealthiest countries. In September, the United Nations will host a summit of world leaders to review five years of progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals, signed by more than 189 world leaders in 2000, commit both developing and developed nations to lift half of the 1.2 billion people in the world living on less than $1 a day out of abject poverty by the year 2015.

Based on current projections, many of the most impoverished parts of the world are way off-track in reaching the poverty-reduction goals. The U.N. Development Programme estimates that at the current pace, Sub-Saharan Africa would not reach the goal until 2147.

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Sojourners Magazine April 2005
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