Voices of poor and marginalised must be heard

A meeting of international politicians to address poverty must not ignore the needs of those directly affected, the Church of England has said.

Prime Minister David Cameron is hosting the meeting in London today.

The panel of 26 has been tasked with advising the United Nations on how to tackle poverty after 2015 - the target year for the completion of the Millennium Development Goals to end extreme global poverty.

The president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are among those attending.

The Church of England's International Affairs Adviser, Dr Charles Reed, said that a post-MDG development agenda would not command widespread legitimacy if it were to be "defined by a group of experts and technocrats working behind closed doors in a way that leaves unchallenged a model of development centred on the concerns of donors".

He said: "It is important that all parties step back from selling a particular agenda or prescriptive view of human development to focusing instead on ensuring that the voices and expertise of those directly affected by poverty and injustice are heard and valued.”

Dr Reed urged leaders to give unknown grassroots organisations the same chance to be heard as the better known global institutions.

"A practical proposal from a faith-based NGO in rural Kenya should receive as much attention as an idea from the Gates Foundation," he said.