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Strong new global development vision welcome, but questions remain as to how to achieve it

June 3 2015 - The just-published Zero Draft of new global development goals for protecting people and the planet is strong on vision but weak on how to achieve it, Christian Aid says today.

State leaders from around the world, including the UK, plan to approve the new goals in September at the UN General Assembly.

The Sustainable Development Goals will replace the existing Millennium Development Goals from next year, and will apply to every country in the world.

Helen Dennis, Christian Aid’s senior adviser on  poverty and inequality, said today:  “The Zero Draft contains a very welcome vision of a more equal and sustainable world in which poverty is eradicated and no-one gets left behind – and where climate change is dealt with and the rights of all, including women and girls, are achieved,’ she said.

“These are significant ambitions which result from more than two years of debate and discussion, including with local communities around the world.

“However, we have yet to see strong enough plans for how the ambitious vision will be achieved. It is clear that the sections of the document on financing and implementation, and on follow-up and review, need to be beefed-up before September. Achieving the vision will also depend on an ambitious, legally-binding climate deal later this year.” 

Ms Dennis added: “We are especially surprised to see no mention of tax reform in the new text published today. Tax is probably the best single source of financing for development and achievement of human rights, because unlike aid and foreign investment it cannot suddenly be taken away. It is relatively predictable and sustainable, and essential services like health, education, and water and sanitation depend on it.

“We expect tax reform and the fight against illicit financial flows (IFFs) to feature strongly in the forthcoming agreement on Financing for Development, and hope they will be given similar weight in the final Post-2015 Outcome Document.

“This isn’t just a matter of improving tax collection – global cooperation is needed to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, with developing countries at the negotiating table.”

Looking ahead to implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, Christian Aid wants to see stronger political commitment to achieving the vision. While there is no legally-binding mechanism to enforce action towards them, every country should be expected to develop and report on national plans.

Ms Dennis said: “Organisations including Christian Aid will work with its supporters and networks to ensure that the final SDGs agreement in September is more than a photo opportunity for world leaders. The next 15 years are a time for meaningful action.”

For more information please contact Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058 or ahogg@christian-aid.org 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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