August 29 - 30 2005
In celebration of the International Year of Microcredit,
the UNAA Victoria is holding an
International Year of Microcredit Conference entitled:
Towards an End to Global Poverty: Empowering Communities and Individuals Through Financial Inclusion
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2005 to be the International Year of Microcredit and invited the international community to work together to increase the profile of microfinance as an effective strategy to reduce poverty. In recognition of this International Year the United Nations Association of Australia is holding a two-day International Conference at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne on August 29-30, 2005.
Microcredit is a small amount of money loaned to a client by a bank or other institution. Microfinance refers to loans, savings, insurance, transfer services, microcredit loans and other financial products targeted at low-income clients. Microcredit and microfinance have been found to be a very effective way of reducing poverty through enabling recipients to build assets, increase incomes and reduce their economic vulnerability. UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has identified microcredit as a vital strategy in achieving the first of the eight Millennium Development Goals agreed upon by world leaders at the Millennium Summit in 2000 - that is to halve the proportion of people in the world who live on less than one dollar a day and halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
While microfinance is often associated with small loans programs in the developing world, there is a growing interest in approaches to microfinance and many examples of successful microfinance projects in Australia. In addition, there is a wide interest in how banking and financial services can better serve the needs of low-income people, and how business, community and government organisations can develop strategic partnerships to promote inclusive financial services.
The Conference will provide an opportunity to share the practical lessons and discuss the wider issues for business, governments and NGOs with leading international experts and delegates from both the developed and developing world.
The aims of the Conference are:
Increase public awareness and understanding of microfinance as an effective tool for the alleviation of povertyPromote inclusive financial systems and support sustainable access to financial servicesIdentify opportunities to implement microfinance and asset building projects in Australia and overseasEncourage corporate sector involvement in microfinanceProvide a forum for knowledge exchange and professional development for those already working in the sectorEncourage innovation and experimentation to build and expand the outreach and success of microfinance