Extracts from email to Richard Curtis
6 February 2017

Factual error in World's Largest Lesson and related material

To: alice@project-everyone.org  ...


Dear Mr Curtis,

Further to our conversation on the 24th of January at Portcullis House, below is some evidence and correspondence. ...the material has...encouraged many millions to hold governments accountable for the wrong "pledges".

As I said on the 24th, the World's Largest Lesson has given the impression that the 1990-baseline MDG targets were what was agreed in 2000.

In reality the Millennnium Declaration specified no baseline except "current rates" for the mortality targets.

[...The MDGs later proposed by civil servants were broadly less ambitious, being based on 25 years rather than 15.  Leaders reaffirmed the Declaration right up to 2015.]

I said the short film at the [2015] Global Citizen Festival [No Point Going Halfway] made a claim about progress on clean water.  The UN does not have clean or safe water statistics.  ...

From the film captions:

a) "In 2000 the United Nations issued the Millennium Development Goals"

is incorrect.  In 2000 the UN issued the Millennium Declaration, which is generally wider as well as more ambitious in its timescale than the MDG targets.

b) "Since then... over 2 billion people got clean drinking water"

Testing a vast number of water sources is not easy.  The statistics are in fact on "improved sources" which refers to the type of source. It does not mean the water is clean or safe. ...
In July 2015 the BBC Trustees accepted publicly that in 2000 leaders did promise more than the later MDG targets on mortality. ...

[email includes extracts from Millennium Declaration]


Yours sincerely,

Matt Berkley


[Later note:  I made several attempts to inform Mr Curtis in 2015 of such problems.
I did so by phone and email through his organisation and his agent, including on 21 September:

For Richard Curtis. Factual error in The World's Largest Lesson material. Fwd: Urgent: BBC set to misrepresent existing UN pledges again during next week's Summit
To: ajones@unitedagents.co.uk, dwalker@unitedagents.co.uk, aelliott@unitedagents.co.uk]