THE BLOG

A Labour Government Will Lead the World to Tackle Global Poverty and Inequality

15/01/2015 08:46 GMT | Updated 16/03/2015 09:59 GMT

2015 is an historic year as the countries of the world will come together to agree two plans. The first plan aims to eradicate poverty over the next fifteen years, and the second will tackle climate change.

Today, Ed Miliband will launch action/2015, a campaign organised by a coalition of charities, to make sure that the world's politicians do not duck these challenges.

Development will be a priority for a Labour government. We are the only party with the values, vision and courage to lead in international development. Fifteen years ago, it was a Labour government that led global efforts to tackle global poverty, which led to the Millennium Development Goals.

These goals have driven enormous progress:- fifteen years later, 17 thousand fewer children die every day; nine out of ten children in developing regions attend primary school.

The last Labour Government helped set up the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and malaria that gives 13million people access to HIV treatment. And when Ed Miliband was Secretary of State for energy, the UK became the first country in the world to put into a law a target to reduce carbon emissions.

But there is much more to do. More than one billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. The successor goals to the MDGs - the Sustainable Development Goals - must go further and faster to address extreme poverty and growing levels of inequality.

The consequences of poverty, conflict, and disease affect us all. Just look at how Ebola in West Africa overwhelmed weak health systems. All of us, rich and poor, will all be affected by disease outbreaks and by climate change.

These new goals - the SDGs - need to reflect that.

This is why Ed Miliband will set out Labour's priorities for the SDGs: universal health coverage, climate change and respect for human rights for all - women, children, workers, the LGBT and indigenous communities.

Eradicating poverty will only be possible with a serious commitment to tackling climate change. The progress of the last 15 years in tackling poverty, improving health, on food security and access to sanitation could all be eroded if global temperatures are allowed to soar.

David Cameron doesn't say much about his wind turbine these days. He is a prisoner of his divided Conservative Party which is split over whether climate change even exists. For Labour, climate change will be at the centre of our foreign policy and integral to our mission to change Britain.

There is a real opportunity to address climate change this year. The United States, the EU and, most importantly, China, are all showing a willingness to act. In Paris in December, a Labour government would be pushing for global targets for reducing carbon emissions, with regular reviews towards the long-term goal of what the science now tells us is necessary - zero net global emissions in the latter half of this century.

In addition, we must ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a specific goal on climate change - something the current government has repeatedly failed to back.

The best way to show leadership abroad is to demonstrate leadership at home.

This means building a clean, green energy economy in the UK - working towards decarbonisation, investing in renewables and delivering green jobs.

2015 provides a unique opportunity for the world to think bigger and do better - for ourselves, our children and the world's poorest people. With the right leadership, ours is the generation that can wipe out extreme poverty, reduce inequality and tackle climate change.

That is a thrilling opportunity.