International Symposium Discusses Anti-Poverty Goals
An international symposium on "What's Needed to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals?" was held June 1 in the Japan International Cooperation Agency Global Center Auditorium in Tokyo. It was attended by some 230 people, including members of religious organizations and NGOs. The symposium was a satellite event of the Follow-Up Meeting of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) held by the Japanese government June 2-3. The MDGs were adopted by a UN summit in 2000 to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide. The symposium was cosponsored by a network of three organizations in Japan that are fighting poverty: the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (Religions for Peace Japan), the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation, and Ugoku/Ugokasu (Global Call to Action against Poverty Japan).
Mr. Mimasaka Higuchi, Religions for Peace Japan's auditor and an honorary president of the Japan Muslim Association, made the opening address. He expressed appreciation for the international community's material and moral support for victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan on March 11. He warned that there are also millions of impoverished people around the world who are victims of conflicts or environmental destruction but receiving no help. He said the international community must share its awareness of this problem and unite to save people from extreme poverty.
Mr. Masaya Fujiwara, deputy director general for global issues of the International Cooperation Bureau of Japan's foreign ministry, reported on the Japanese government's commitment to the MDGs, especially in the fields of hygiene and education, for which the government was promoting special measures.
The symposium also included a presentation by five NGO representatives and a panel discussion of the theme "How Should We Promote the MDGs in Japanese Society?"
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