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Nobel Peace Laureate Calls for Cutting World Poverty in Half by 2015

Ways to create a more sustainable and fair world were discussed Monday during the “Investing in Peace” panel for the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Panel moderator Douglas Brinkley explained that investing involves more than “taking out (a) checkbook and supporting a non-profit group. Investing means investing lives.”

Professor Muhammed Yunus of Bangladesh, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work in micro-credit lending, touched upon the Eight Millennium Development Goals for 2015 set up by the United Nations Development Program. The first goal is to reduce poverty by half by the year 2015.

“If you can reduce poverty by half, eventually you will reach zero,” he said. “It’s not a question of can, but when? We have the technology.”

Environmentalist Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, who headed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when it was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, said a change was needed in “the metrics of what measures human progress. Gandhi once said ‘Speed is irrelevant if you’re going in the wrong direction.’ Maybe it is up to the younger generation to show us the way.”

Poverty is worldwide, said diplomat Thomas Stelzer, assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

“Globalization has made it so no country is exempt [from poverty]. The shock waves are felt everywhere,” said Stelzer. “It is important to involve young people. There needs to be a focus on young people. They need an action plan so they can participate. We must create opportunities so these young people can invest in the future and take their life in their own hands.”

Others on the panel included Alexandre Liebeskind, of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Telma Viale, representing the International Labour Organization.

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