'1bn more may face extreme poverty if leaders duck key issues'

Global poverty could rise for the first time in a generation as almost a billion more people would face extreme poverty if world leaders fail to take key decisions on inequality and climate change at two critical UN summits this year, a campaign launched Monday warned.

London: Global poverty could rise for the first time in a generation as almost a billion more people would face extreme poverty if world leaders fail to take key decisions on inequality and climate change at two critical UN summits this year, a campaign launched Monday warned.

The warning to world leaders against making wrong calls came from an international coalition of more than 1,000 organisations.

The "action/2015" campaign will target the UN summit in New York in September, which will discuss a new agenda to replace the millennium development goals set in 2000, which expire this year, according a report in The Independent.

It is expected to include ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change and protecting oceans and forests.

The new campaign will also demand tough action to tackle man-made climate change when UN-led negotiations on a new global agreement reach a climax in Paris in December.

Research for the campaign by the University of Denver shows that, if world leaders get it right, the number of people living in extreme poverty less than 82p a day could be reduced dramatically from more than one billion to 360m by 2030.

By then, about 4 per cent of the global population would live in extreme poverty, down from 17 per cent today.

This would make eradicating extreme poverty achievable for the first time in history.

However, if the two summits get it wrong, the number of people living in extreme poverty could increase to 1.2bn by 2030 --the first rise since 1993, and 886m higher than if strong action is taken.

Under this scenario, one in three of the world's population would live on under 1.32 pound a day.

The goals of "action/2015" include an end to poverty in all its forms; ensuring fundamental rights, tackling inequality and discrimination and speeding up the transition to "100 per cent renewable energy."

Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Nobel laureate who survived a Taliban assault in Pakistan, said: "People globally want an end to injustice, poverty and illiteracy. Our world is interconnected and youth are ready and mobilised more than ever to see real change take place. Together, we are demanding our leaders take action in 2015 and we must all do our part."

Supporters in more than 120 countries include Queen Rania of Jordan, Bill and Melinda Gates, the rock star Bono, actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and the mobile communications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have pledged their support.

Cameron met youth activists Bhavi Elangeswaran and Katie Knight in Downing Street this week.

In the UK, more than 40 charities are taking part, include Amnesty International and Save the Children.

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