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72 Hours to Join Desmond Tutu Against Poverty

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rgent letter on global poverty, signed by key global figures: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson--and, we hope, you.

Our message: keep your promise to provide 0.7% of national income in effective aid to relieve extreme poverty. Millions of lives are at stake. The more people sign the letter, the more powerful our demand becomes. Click here to sign:

The statistics of global poverty are shocking. Each day, 20,000 children die preventable deaths in poor countries. That's why the broken promises of rich countries are so infuriating.

The world's rich countries have pledged 0.7% of their national income to development aid. But these promises have not been kept. In fact, outrageously, the G8 countries gave less in 2006 than in 2005.

At the same time, the last few years have seen an unprecedented groundswell against global poverty--which has led to new promises and, in some countries, real change. These fights can be won. That's why we are working with our friends at the Global Call to Action Against Poverty to assemble citizens and celebrities behind a single call--for world leaders to keep their word on global poverty.

Here's an excerpt from the letter:

Together you represent the world's economic powerhouses. We write to ask that you also strive to represent the millions of people whose lives are blighted by extreme poverty.

Aid is not a panacea. But Marshall Plan aid from the US kick-started the rebuilding of a Europe shattered by war and delivered real benefits to the US in terms of new markets for its goods. Aid to East Asia helped catalyse the economic miracles that have lifted millions of people out of poverty. Today many African governments are using aid to underwrite growth and provide essential schools, health services and water supplies for their people. The poorest countries in the world need you to honour these aid pledges if they are to meet the Millennium Development Goals and end poverty. Please seize that chance today.

The letter will be delivered Friday with big ads in the Financial Times and German press, just in time for the G8 finance ministers' meeting. Click here to join Desmond Tutu by signing on:

With hope,

Ben, Ricken, Galit, Iain, Graziela, Paul, and the Avaaz team

PS Once you've signed, please pass this email along to ten friends. It's hard to think of anything more urgently important--and, at the same time, so achievable, than the fight against global poverty. Let's show these finance ministers how much we value human life.