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Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Holy See

4th June 2013

The Poor and the Powerful: A New Global Partnership

The British Prime Minister David Cameron meets community workers and school pupils in Monrovia, February 2013

Can we be the generation to eliminate extreme poverty from the earth? This is the challenge set by the Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, co-chaired at the request of the UN Secretary General by the Presidents of Liberia and Indonesia, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The Report does not come from a top-down process, despite the eminent names on the Panel. It is the product of nine months of careful listening to what poor people say is important to them. All the right experts were consulted, as you might expect. But Panel members also spoke to farmers, indigenous peoples, local communities, informal workers, people with disabilities, women’s groups, trades unions and faith groups. Poor people spoke eloquently about insecurity and corruption, their fear of getting sick and lack of safety, violence in the home, exclusion from society’s institutions and the need for transparent, open and responsive governments that recognise their dignity and human rights. They want to see what is wrong put right. As Pope Francis has called for, this is a “human-centred” agenda, bringing together “people” and “planet”.

The Report sets bold targets, while recognising that saying and doing are not the same thing. It offers a framework as well as a vision. By 2030, it sets out how to achieve 1.2 billion fewer people hungry and at the margins of survival; 100m children saved from dying before the age of five; 470 million more workers with good jobs and livelihoods. It includes targets to support women and girls, stabilise the environment, prevent food going to waste, make governments more transparent. It follows closely what Prime Minister David Cameron calls the ‘golden thread’ of peace, good governance and open societies and economies. It will require global effort, starting where the Millennium Development Goals leave off.

There will be extensive negotiation at the UN and elsewhere on the post-2015 goals. This Report has given that debate a great start. I hope that the global Catholic network, from Caritas to Pontifical Councils, clergy and lay people, nuncios and religious, will play a leading role. The High Level Panel has provided an inspiring source of recommendations and ideas which we hope the international community will build upon. That, at least, we owe to the global poor.

1 comment on “The Poor and the Powerful: A New Global Partnership

  1. Thanks for an interesting blog. I agree that there is a lot in the High Level Panel report to celebrate – respect for the inherent dignity of all people, living within our means so that others may have the means to simply live, and the participation of people living in poverty, among much else.

    It’s the political process that lies ahead that will be difficult to get right, and that’s where voices of people living in poverty and marginalisation are most likely to be lost. I hope that governments around the world recognise that increasing participation galvanizes support and ownership. I wrote a blog on it here: http://cafodpolicy.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/the-hlp-hearing-from-the-people/

    Hope you find it likewise interesting!

Comments are closed.

About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

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