U2 singer Bono and former Boomtown Rats frontman, Bob Geldorf, have signed up Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to champion the 'One' campaign to halve extreme poverty by 2015.
At a meeting at UN headquarters in New York earlier today, Mr Zapatero agreed to propose at the next European Council meeting in Brussels on October 15th that the UE releases the €1,000 million euros it has saved out of the Common Agricultural Policy fund to support farmers in fifteen African countries.
During the meeting, Bono and Geldof outlined their plans to focus global attention on the situation in Africa, using the 2012 World Cup to gain maximum attention. The biggest concert ever staged on the continent is being organised, and Mr Zapatero was told that, among others, Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz and Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas have already pledged their support.
After less positive reactions from a number of other European political leaders previously approached, and bowled over by Mr Zapatero's enthusiasm for the initiative, Bono reportedly said during the meeting that he wished he were Spanish.
Zapatero proposes ending executions by 2015
Friday, September 26, 2008
After the UN first adopted an EU resolution last year proposing a universal moratorium on capital punishment, president Zapatero has called for it to be introduced by 2015 as a first step towards its complete abolition.
Addressing the General Assembly earlier today, Mr Zapatero focused mainly on the global economic crisis, urging the world's wealthiest nations not to use it as an excuse for failing to achieve Millenniumn targets to reduce extreme hunger and poverty by 2015.
Zapatero invited to global crisis meeting
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
President Zapatero has had to cancel a dinner tomorrow night with Latin American leaders after receiving a surprise invitation to attend a meeting called by British PM Gordon Brown to discuss the global economic crisis that will also be attended by, among others, the presidents of Brazil, Italy and the European Commission as well as the German chancellor, who are all in New York for this week's UN General Assembly.
Mr Zapatero was left off the list for a similar informal summit in London last January involving French, Italian, EU and German leaders.
After attending the funeral in Segovia today for the army officer slain in an ETA car bomb attack in Santoña (Cantabria) yesterday, Mr Zapatero will arrive in New York this evening ahead of a meeting tomorrow morning with US bankers and investors at which he will attempt to offer reassurances about the robustness of the Spanish economy.
Later, he will attend a presentation of the new UN Development Fund project that was inaugurated by Spain with a donation of €528 million euros, and which already has the backing of the UK and Norway.
On Thursday, Mr Zapatero will jointly chair a roundtable discusssion about progress on meeting Millenium Goals poverty and hunger reduction targets, before addressing the UN General Assembly for the second time - the first being back in 2004 when he presented the Alliance of Civilisations initiative (second photo).
Mr Zapatero has a number of other meetings already pencilled in his diary for this week, including with UN general secretary, Ban Ki-moon, Somalia president, Abdulahi Yusuf, Chinese PM, Wen Jiabao, Argentina president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.