UK & World News
Cameron In Liberia To Co-Chair UN Meeting
David Cameron has praised the Liberian president for transforming her country as he called for global action to target extreme poverty.
Mr Cameron, the first British prime minister to visit Liberia, co-chaired a meeting of the UN's high-level panel with the country's leader President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The advisory body will suggest the best way of renewing the Millenium Developments Goals on international aid, which are due to expire in 2015.
Speaking ahead of detailed talks in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, Mr Cameron hailed the example set by the country's leader.
He said "We are here in a country being transformed, and it is a reminder that tackling poverty and getting growth is about more than aid - it is about good governance.
He continued: "Liberia is a country that was absolutely devastated by conflict and civil war. It is now recovering but there is still desperate poverty.
"I think it is very important we keep a focus on eradicating extreme poverty. Here in Liberia, one in 10 children do not make it to the age of five.
"But I also think it is important we look at those things that keep countries poor. Conflict, corruption, lack of justice, lack of the rule of law. These things matter as well as money."
The original Millenium Development Goals were agreed in 2000.
They range from eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, to reducing child mortality and giving all children a primary education, as well as improving maternal health and empowering women across the world.
The high-level panel is due to make its recommendations about how best to proceed to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon later this year.
The main political argument concerns whether it is best to push for wide-ranging and ambitious goals, or to aim for something that - while challenging - is considered achievable.
The Prime Minister believes that it is best to focus squarely on the need to eradicate absolute poverty in a generation.
However, other leaders believe that measures of relative poverty are equally relevant, and would like to see the environmental sustainability of proposals considered in the equation too.
Aid campaigners fear that if the political argument proves too tricky, the leaders might end up fudging the issue.
There are two further meetings planned of the high-level panel, so the conclusions reached in Liberia are not definitive.
The final meeting planned for New York in a few months time is where the argument is likely to come to a crunch.
Backing ambitious targets could fuel anger at home for Mr Cameron among Tory backbenchers over plans to raise aid spending by 0.7% of GDP.