Obama calls on world leaders to step up against poverty

Obama calls on world leaders to step up against poverty

President Barack Obama said Sunday that he would commit himself to fighting poverty even after he leaves office.

 “As long as I am the president and when I am done being the president I will keep fighting for the education and housing and health care and jobs, to reduce inequality, and create opportunity here in the United States and around the world, because this is not the job of politicians. It’s a work for all of us,” Obama said. 

Obama’s comments came during the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit at the organization’s headquarters in New York where he announced the U.S. Global Development Policy and Agenda 2030 and urged world leaders to step up the fight against global poverty.

The agenda is a framework by which the U.S. will join other countries to eliminate poverty and implement polices that will have long lasting impact.

With nearly 1 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day, Obama said it is a “moral outrage” that billions are at risk of dying from preventable diseases and many children are close to death from being subjected to one mosquito bite.

Although he painted a bleak picture, the American president said a lot has been achieved in the fight against global poverty.  

“Because the world came together in an unprecedented effort the global hunger rate has already been slashed. Tens of millions of more boys and girls are today in schools,” he said. “Prevention and treatment of measles, malaria, and tuberculosis have saved nearly 60 million lives. HIV/AIDS infections and deaths have plummeted,” he said.

Progress is good but a lot more has to be done, Obama said, as he rattled off a string of statistics, including that while 11 children die every minute from preventable causes, more 100 women die every day just from having a baby and tens of millions of children are still not in school. Also, hundreds of millions of people don’t have access to clean water. 

Five years ago, Obama made a pledge at the UN that the U.S. would remain the global leader in development, and it is still ahead of the pack as the largest donor in humanitarian assistance, including in global health.

The U.S. under his administration has committed and helped mobilize more than $100 billion dollars in the areas of health and food security to promote development, he added.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. has contributed more than $7 billion to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, according to the White House. 

It has also provided $6.5 billion in life-saving food, health care, water and shelter to the conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa andl ed a campaign that raised $22 billion in assistance for agriculture, and committed $7 billion for energy problems in Africa.