Cameron Reaffirms Aid Pledge On US Trip
Prime Minister David Cameron has reaffirmed his commitment to increasing Britain's foreign aid spending as he attends the UN Conference in New York.
Mr Cameron addressed world leaders while domestic headlines continue to be dominated by Andrew Mitchell's apology for swearing at a Downing Street policeman.
The Prime Minister called on other nations to provide more money for overseas aid in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
He is also using the trip to build on the Olympic legacy, appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday which has an audience of three million.
On Tuesday, Mr Cameron met the founders of 13 leading technology start-ups who are set to invest over £30m in the UK and create more than 100 new jobs in East London's version of Silicon Valley.
He also promoted iCITY - the new technology park being developed on the Olympic site.
As leaders gather for the UN Conference, the Prime Minister argued that despite the difficult economic times, countries cannot lose sight of delivering the eight Millennium Goals.
Less than half of the 142 objectives that underpin the goals are on track to meet the 2015 targets and in 13 areas things are getting worse rather than better.
Addressing the UN High Level Panel on Tuesday, the PM said: "The first thing we must do is send a clear message to everyone who signed up to Millennium Development Goals - that now is the time to step up and honour those promises.
"And I know there are some who say we can't afford to do that right now. They believe we have to focus on ourselves. And if that means breaking promises, then they're sorry - but it just has to be done. Well I'm sorry, but it doesn't.
"When we make a promise to the poorest people in the world, we should keep it - not turn our back on people who are trusting us to help them. More than 5,000 infants die every day from preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.
"So to those who say we can't afford to act, I say, we can't afford to wait."
At a post-meeting press conference, he rejected claims from some Tories that Britain cannot afford to increase foreign aid at a time of such austerity.
"We made promises to the poorest people in the world and it is a promise we should keep," he said.
"To those who are sceptical, I would say it is not only a moral obligation that the better-off countries have to tackle poverty in our world when we still have over a billion people living on less than a dollar a day, but it's also in
Speaking alongside the co-chairs of the UN panel, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Indonesian president Susilo Yudhoyono, Mr Cameron said thatthe report they deliver to Mr Ban next year should be "bold and ambitious".
"The eradication of poverty - that is a goal we should set ourselves," he said.
Mr Cameron called on other countries to provide more funding, pointing towards the UK Government's commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on overseas aid.
He wants to prioritise trade, investment, corruption, climate change, conflict, access to energy and the empowerment of women.
The timing of the UN Conference is potentially tricky for the Prime Minister as it falls during the Liberal Democrat conference.
Governments are discouraged from making speeches or announcements during the conferences of rival parties and Mr Cameron will be reluctant to be seen to overshadow Nick Clegg's speech on Wednesday.