May 31st, 2013 1:31 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
René Engel, campaigns & special projects coordinator at ONE Germany, fills us in on some creative campaigning.
For the past few weeks, our energetic German Youth Ambassadors have been raising awareness around “Ich schaue hin!”, the ONE campaign focussed on the upcoming German elections.
But two Youth Ambassadors, Miriam and Jannis, decided to do something a bit special. Earlier this month, they joined up with the Western Youth Choir of Namibia to perform Miriam’s self-composed ONE song “Be ONE of Us” in front of 400 people at a small town near Dortmund, Germany.
We were so impressed by their song that we just had to share it!
Miriam says, “This song means a lot to me, because it is about changing the world and fighting extreme poverty together. When the choir developed their own interpretation of the song, it really became unique.”
We hope it leaves you feeling inspired – and if you want to get more involved in ONE Member activities like this, get in touch with your nearest ONE team.
Apr 23rd, 2013 11:29 AM UTC
By Alicia Blázquez
With Germany just months away from a major election in which voters will choose a new parliament, which will in turn elect a new government and Chancellor, ONE Germany last week launched a major new campaign to remind German voters and candidates of both parties of the remaining challenges and the great opportunities in the fight against extreme poverty in this decisive year.
ONE’s co-founder Bono joined German activists, academics and entertainment leaders, as well as 50 ONE Germany Youth Ambassadors, in the launch of the campaign, Ich schaue hin! The phrase has several meanings including: “I am not turning a blind eye. I see the challenges, and I am not going to look away” and “I am looking, my eyes are open. I see the progress that has already been made in Africa and I recognise the opportunity to virtually end extreme poverty on our lifetime.”
Following the campaign launch, Bono, ONE Africa Director Dr. Sipho Moyo and the ONE Youth Ambassadors met privately with Chancellor Angela Merkel for a discussion of the important role Germany has played in helping reduce extreme poverty in the developing world. They discussed the need to continue that leadership even in difficult economic times, and about the importance of doing more to tackle corruption and increase transparency.
After the meeting, Bono said: “She’s got to be the busiest woman in the world so taking time out to meet ONE’s Youth Ambassadors and talk in her hard-headed way about the progress being made in the fight against extreme poverty was very impressive.
The Chancellor has embodied time after time that very German notion that a promise made is a promise kept. Later she made it very clear that Germany’s aid effort must move upward again. And she has promised to work with others on transparency too, so that people across Africa increasingly know what their leaders are doing with their money and hold them accountable.
She also expressed an interest in the business of aid becoming more transparent so that German taxpayers can understand better what their aid is paying for.”
The campaign is asking supporters to sign a petition and add a photo of their eyes to our gallery, to remind the German government we are watching their words and actions on global poverty in the run up to the election in September. German members: add your eyes now!
Feb 6th, 2013 12:31 PM UTC
By Isabelle De Lichtervelde
Tomorrow, EU leaders will meet in Brussels to decide the EU budget for 2014-2020, including the proposed €51 billion of lifesaving EU aid to the world’s poorest.
EU aid works. Between 2004 and 2009, it helped enrol more than 9 million children in primary education, vaccinate 5.5 million children against measles, and connect more than 31 million people to clean water. If the proposed €51 billion EU aid budget is adopted, in the next 7 years 15 million more children could be enrolled in school, 9 million more could be vaccinated and 51 million more people could be connected to clean water.
But proposals for smart European aid are under serious threat. At the last summit in November, proposed development assistance to the world’s poorest was slashed by €6.1bn. And some leaders want to make even deeper cuts that could take funds below current spending levels: this would have a devastating impact.
Ahead of this week’s critical talks, ONE members from all over Europe have been rallying to ask European leaders to protect lifesaving EU aid at the proposed levels.
In the next step of our Lifesaver campaign, ONE estimated that it would cost just 3 euro cents (or 2 pence) per week, per EU citizen to reverse proposed cuts to aid for the poorest. ONE members have therefore decided to make their small change count! In the UK, over 2000 ONE members have asked for postcards to send their 2 pence to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to protect proposals for lifesaving EU aid in the budget negotiations. In Germany, ONE members have sent postcards to Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding their 3 cents. In Brussels, the team collected by hand over 230 postcards for President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy including around 60 Brussels-based interns and young professionals who came to our meet-up last week. ONE Brussels hand delivered postcards to Van Rompuy’s staff and passed on the message that Europeans are counting on him to ensure their voices are heard. ONE has also started handing in postcards to the other European governments at their embassies in Brussels.
In France, as part of the French version of ONE’s Lifesaver campaign, “sauveteur du siècle”, ONE members have mailed more than 500 postcards to President François Hollande, urging him to make sure that, in Winter sales season, EU leaders don’t try to make savings on the back of the world’s poorest.
In parallel, ONE also estimated how much it would cost each government per year to reverse the cuts to the proposed €51 billion for EU aid. For Germany that’s €174mn, for the UK €113mn and for France €154mn – peanuts compared to overall annual government spending.
Beside the “Make Your Change Count” action, ONE has also launched a tumblr blog (in French, German and English), a hilarious take on the serious day-to-day work of Lifesaver campaigners fighting to protect aid in the EU budget.
Finally, in order to help people get their heads around the confusing EU budget figures, we have produced an infographic on what current cuts on the table to the proposal for EU development aid could actually mean on the ground. The figures are stark: if the proposed cuts are agreed on, 1.9 million less pupils could be enrolled in primary school. If deeper cuts are decided, the impacts would be even worse. The infographic is also available in French and in German.
Why not help spread the word? You can start by signing ONE’s petition to protect European aid.
And to learn more about the impact of EU aid on the ground read these 5 stories about successful EU-funded projects in Africa.
This week really matters – we’ll keep you updated and hope to see EU leaders doing the right thing tomorrow and protecting lifesaving EU aid for the world’s poorest.
Jan 31st, 2013 5:34 PM UTC
By Alicia Blázquez
This morning the Berlin team met outside the German Finance Ministry today for a mini-stunt. The occasion: Deputy ministers had a meeting to discuss the budget for 2014 and the necessary cuts to reach the “black zero” (no, not a Coke, but a budget with no new debt).
We were there to convey one message: Don’t use the red pen (a German phrase for cuts) on the poorest of the poor. We handed out red pens and postcards with that message to people walking into the ministry, but – most importantly – to at least half of the Deputy Ministers as they were driving in.
We approached their cars and gave the postcards and pens directly to their drivers. Check out the pictures below and the full album on Facebook.
Across Europe ONE members have been asking their governments not only to protect national Aid budgets, but also to protect the lifesaving European Union Aid budget – you can join them by taking action here.
Oct 10th, 2012 11:33 AM UTC
By Peter Taylor
Between 2004 and 2009, aid from the European Union helped enrol more than 9 million children in primary education, vaccinate 5.5 million children against measles, and connect more than 31 million people to clean water. All this was achieved with a tiny part of the EU budget.
Yet right now, EU aid is under threat. Europe’s leaders are in the midst of crucial budget negotiations over EU development assistance. Cuts proposed by some leaders to these life-saving programs—which only cost citizens €15 per year—would have a devastating impact on the world’s poorest people.
We need your help to defend aid and help millions of people around the world. Today ONE is calling on everyone to tell EU leaders that they want to continue being a #lifesaver.
This week across some of Europe’s busiest places we’re launching a series of events that will beam the pictures of lifesavers like you onto gigantic jumbotron displays for the world to see!
You can see it for yourself at Victoria station in London, Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville in Paris and Whashingtonplatz in Berlin.
If you can’t make it in person you can take part online and join our lifesaver campaign, by telling EU leaders you want to continue being a #lifesaver.
Apr 19th, 2012 10:32 AM UTC
By Tom Wallace
On Monday this week the European Union (EU) became the first developed country group to make clear commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative to help increase energy access in developing countries.
The pledge to help developing country governments provide electricity access to 500 million citizens by 2030 was made by EU President José Manuel Barroso in front of African and European Ministers, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and ONE’s very own Tom Wallace who was in the audience.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) April 16, 2012
Germany also used the event to confirm their commitment to increase their overseas renewable energy funding. And as part of the 500 million pledge Germany announced through its own development assistance it will help support developing country government to increase electricity access to 100 million people.
A lack of modern energy access traps millions in poverty. Electricity provision is crucial for poverty alleviation as it is integral to the provision of decent health and education services, job creation and provision of other basic services such as lighting. However the International Energy Agency finds that prior commitments to address energy poverty would result in a situation where by 2030 nearly 50% of African still do not have access to electricity. This would seriously limit poverty alleviation on the continent thus the above pledges from the EU President and Germany are both timely and very welcome.
The European Commission also used the event to announce a new EU Technical Assistance Facility that will spend in excess of €50 million over the next two years to assist African governments help create the governance structure and technical capacity to make this electrical provision possible. Further announcements clarifying some of the specifics of implementing these pledges are expected in the run up to the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June.
ONE would like to official congratulate the European President Barroso, German Government and European Commission on their ambitious pledges and commitments.
The prioritisation of energy access will be crucial for poverty alleviation and ONE hopes that at the Clean Energy Ministerial next week in London other nations will provide similar support to this crucial issue.
In the weeks ahead keep an eye out on the ONE blog and check out our new Hot Topic page on Sustainable Energy.
Feb 10th, 2012 4:24 PM UTC
By Alicia Blázquez
Many thanks to the more than 60,000 ONE members that have signed our petition calling on the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy to keep their promise to the world’s poor.
Earlier this month ONE members – and current interns – Anne and Katrin handed the long list of signatures (burnt on a CD) over to the Federal Chancellery and the FDP headquarters in Berlin.
You can see more photos on facebook.
Even though our petition continues we wanted to hand the signatures over before an important EU summit– in case the financial transactions tax (or FTT for short) was discussed.
It’s been a busy few weeks for the campaign. Prior to the summit President Sarkozy announced that France will charge a tax of 0.1% on financial transactions. German opposition leader Sigmar Gabriel demanded: “We need to see deeds.” According to a spokesperson of finance minister Schäuble, however, the government does not want to follow Sarkozy’s approach, at least not for now. Instead the existing proposal by the European Commission, which is more extensive, will be further examined. In fact, the President Sarkozy’s FTT allows certain exceptions, which is why some French NGOs consider the tax to be inadequate.
That means our French colleagues and the team here in Germany have to keep pushing for a FTT against poverty! The campaign continues – we’ll keep you up to date.
Feb 2nd, 2012 1:20 PM UTC
By ONE Partners
Guest post from Paul Collier, author of ‘The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity With Nature’ and member of ONE’s Africa Policy Advisory Board.
The ‘resource curse’ is one of the most persistent paradoxes of international development. For decades the natural resources of poor countries have been plundered: the few expropriating what should benefit the many, and the current generation squandering what should also benefit future generations. The current global boom in commodities provides many poor countries with an unprecedented opportunity to escape poverty, yet the default option is for history to repeat itself. One of the most pressing issues in the fight against global poverty is how to prevent this repetition.
Repetition is not inevitable. For example, Germany learnt from hyperinflation. But to avoid a repeat of the resource curse the pressures for plunder must be faced down. Some of the necessary actions must be taken by the governments of resource-rich countries, but we ourselves need to take complementary actions.
Fortunately we are now at a moment of opportunity, and Germany’s support will be crucial. The European Commission has published proposals that would oblige all European extractive industry companies to become more transparent in their operations abroad. If enacted, these companies will have to publish the payments they make to the governments of every country where they operate. The legislation aims to go at least as far as ground-breaking US legislation that was passed in 2010. This means that a global standard for legally binding transparency in the extractive industries is within reach for the first time. The French President is in full support of this initiative. Even Britain, where more extractive companies’ are headquartered than in any other EU-member state, used a G20 finance ministers meeting to express unequivocal backing. It is unsettling that the German government, a champion of extractive transparency in years past, is silent at this historic moment.
The draft disclosure requirements will provide the perfect complement to actions taken within the poor countries themselves. Citizens need the data that would be made available by these companies to better hold their governments accountable for the money they receive for the country’s natural resources. Over 600 civil society organisations worldwide have signed up to the ‘Publish What You Pay’ coalition. Citizens, many of whom have risked arrest to fight embezzlement, will be newly empowered with the tools they need to force positive change. As the Arab Spring so ably demonstrated, ordinary citizens care deeply about transparent and accountable governance.
Of course transparency is only a means to an end. The prize is the better use of huge resource revenues, enabling a dramatic improvement in social and economic development. In 2008 exports of oil, gas and minerals from Africa were worth roughly nine times the value of overseas aid ($393-billion versus $44-billion), creating considerable government income through licences and taxes. In many countries those revenues account for the vast majority of government revenues – more than 80% in the case of Angola. Even if enhanced transparency were only to improve the efficiency of natural resource revenue spending incrementally, it would easily yield more than Germany’s entire aid program for sub-Saharan Africa.
In a time of economic austerity across Europe policies like these which help African governments to mobilise their own resources for development are even more important. Aid budgets are now under pressure. In the long-run, fostering greater reliance on taxes can help develop cohesive states and reduce aid dependency.
The discussions on the detail of the new European legislation are now critical. For the new legislation to effectively empower citizens in situations like this, it needs to include the disclosure of financial information at the project level. Only these disaggregated figures give citizens and local communities the information to hold government accountable. In addition, financial information only at the country level will not help citizens curtail the official under-pricing of national assets, such as the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo where contracts have officially been sold for a sixteenth of the market price – an indication that kick-backs are taking place.
Project-level disclosure is also a way to improve the functioning of the natural resource market and therefore makes good business sense: wide discrepancies in the valuation of assets can be hidden by aggregating data at the country-level. A more efficient market system can operate if this secrecy ends. It is no coincidence that major investors successfully joined hands with civil society to have project –level disclosure included in the ground-breaking US legislation.
The good news is: the current draft of the European Commission includes project-level disclosure and both the French President Sarkozy and the British Premier Cameron support this critical detail.
Germany has been a strong champion for extractive transparency ever since the Heiligendamm G8 summit. This is evidenced by the long-standing support Germany gave to EITI, a voluntary multi-stakeholder transparency initiative that has worked well in resource rich countries that showed the will to improve their transparency. However, it is for those countries which ignore EITI that the new legislation is needed and Germany can reinforce its role as an international leader on extractive transparency by supporting the new law.
But while the German government has indicated its general support for this EU legislation some European partners have noticed that a number of German ministries remain sceptical of the key feature described above: project-level disclosure. In line with its excellent track record on improving extractive transparency, Germany should now endorse the current strong legislation. Improved accountability in the natural resource sector leads to more stability in resource rich countries and better markets – both central aims of the German resource strategy.
We are now at a rare moment: we know that some legislation will be enacted. But as with all legislation, the devil is in the detail. Lobbyists for the interests of continuing plunder and irresponsible business practices are attempting to dilute key features while paying lip-service to noble objectives. If we permit the lobbyists to win we become complicit in frustrating change: remember, the default option is for the current resource booms to be the biggest missed opportunity for poverty reduction in history. Germany needs to decide now whether it is happy to be complicit in frustrating this chance for change or if it wants to join the fight against a repetition of the hugely destructive resource curse.
This post first appeared in the Handelsblatt newspaper.
Nov 3rd, 2011 6:00 PM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
As leaders gathered in France today for the G20 Summit of wealthy nations, they brought with them the voice of hundreds of thousands of ONE members.
We’ve been campaigning hard this month to highlight the food crisis in the Horn of Africa and call on world leaders to ensure they break the cycle of famine. Our petition has had a phenomenal response now totalling over 400,000 signatures. So we wanted to make sure our members’ voices were heard loud and clear in the corridors of power.
On Monday as President Sarkozy prepared to leave Paris to host the G20 Summit in the south of France, we broadcast a huge video projection on the side of the city’s iconic Hotel De Ville. The film loop included the powerful celebrity F-word video “famine is the real obscenity”, the message that by then, over 360,000 ONE members had called on leaders to take action, and a scrolling list of members who had signed the petition. Strong media coverage of the event ensured the message was seen far and wide across France.
On Tuesday a group of ONE members joined our European Director delivering the campaign to the UK Government. With the G20 looming and a surge in the number of people signing up, the petition total had jumped to a staggering 400,000 by that afternoon – requiring a large trolley to deliver it!
On Wednesday ONE’s team in Berlin, pictured here in their “Nicht Mehr Hungrig” (“Hungry No More”) t-shirts outside the Chancellery Building, handed in the petition to the German Government. Along with pressure from our staff and members across the United States, this ensured the leading G20 powers have felt the pressure to act going in to today’s Summit.
We’ll be updating here about the Summit’s progresses, and stay tuned for a post early next week giving an overall assessment.
Sep 16th, 2011 5:23 PM UTC
By Alicia Blázquez
On September 22, the Pope will visit Germany to meet the Chancellor and give a speech at the German Bundestag, and we must ask him to remind the German government to keep its word and increase the fight against poverty.
As early as 2006, the Pope stressed to the German Chancellor the importance of poverty reduction, saying: “…The goal of eliminating by 2015 the extreme poverty is one of the most important tasks of our time…this goal is inseparably linked to achieving world peace and global security.”
The current famine in the Horn of Africa shows how desperately we need investment in development — to save lives in the present crisis and to prevent future famines. And the Pope’s word can make a difference.
Regardless of your faith, please ask the Pope to remind the German government of its commitment to the people living in poverty when he visits Germany on September 22.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.