Jun 19th, 2013 12:40 AM UTC
By Adrian Lovett
There are two ways to analyse a G8 communiqué. One is what you do in the minutes after it is issued, desperately scanning sentences, paragraphs, whole pages in seconds; your eyes alert for key words. Trying to build an instant impression of whether they’ve pulled a fast one, whether things have come out better (don’t hold your breath) or worse (more like it) than you had expected.
In these moments, the smallest things loom the largest, like the use of “for example” rather than “including” (the latter meaning that what follows it may actually happen, the former meaning that what follows was probably opposed by everyone around the table except the host). Communiques need this kind of fast and brutal scrutiny. Without it, the fleeting media spotlight might move on before genuinely significant downgrades (or even upgrades) in the text are spotted, and the chance to test leaders against their pre-summit intentions is left until nobody is listening.
The other way to analyse a communiqué is what you do later the same day, on a flight, or with a glass in hand, or sitting up in bed before you finally submit to sleep after days of summit madness. This one involves actually reading it.
The 2013 communique produced yesterday when the G8 wrapped up their meeting, including the one-page ‘Lough Erne Declaration’, is unusual in being worth a proper read. There is a thread running through it. It isn’t too long. And it has some passages that may be genuinely significant in mandating bold action in the months and years ahead.
Take the declaration, a list of ten sentences that, taken together, demand a pretty high standard of behaviour for G8 members from now on. Point four: “Developing countries should have the information and capacity to collect the taxes owed them – and other countries have a duty to help them.” It’s easy to find holes. The repeated use of “should” rather than the tougher “will”, for example, has not gone unnoticed. But picking such nits misses the big opportunity.
Campaigners should take this declaration at face value, advertise it widely and throw it back at G8 leaders every time they fall short. Whether that’s by failing to defend the land rights of marginalised people, excluding developing countries from access to information about the revenues they are losing to tax havens and wealthier countries, or caving in to the lobbying efforts of ‘big oil’ to keep secret the payments they make to governments.
There are undoubtedly disappointments in this communique. The biggest let-down is around the failure of the G8 as a whole to agree to compile information showing who actually benefits from the ownership of each company. If the G8 had agreed to do this and publish the results, they really would have put some rev in the transparency revolution. The fact that they didn’t manage to agree to compile these even for the use of law enforcement agencies is depressing (though five of the G8 are going to consult on doing at least this much). It now falls to the UK and France, who showed leadership, to drive a positive European approach on ‘beneficial ownership’ through the European Union.
Another blow is the lack of new money to put behind positive words on agriculture. David Cameron conceded early on that this would be a ‘leave your chequebook at home’ summit. Nobody can argue with the call for funding to address Syria’s humanitarian emergency. But the $1.5 billion raised in an afternoon for Syria happens to be about the same as the shortfall in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme that last year’s G8 promised to fill – a promise so far entirely undelivered. Ranking desperate human need is a dangerous business, but many will wonder why the chronic emergency of extreme poverty and hunger does not command the same cash call as the acute crisis in Syria. Both are a matter of life and death.
However, elsewhere in the communique (analysed by my colleagues Verity Outram and Alan Hudson) are tantalising signs of how far the tax and transparency debate has moved in the last year and the extent to which developing countries could benefit. The G8 makes clear that developing countries must be able to participate fully in the exchange of information needed for them to effectively collect the taxes they are due. The push for transparency in the extractives sector, so important for resource-rich developing countries, is buoyant after Canada pledged to match EU and US legislation in a pre-summit announcement. And the little-reported Open Data Charter has been agreed which could transform the way government information is presented and publicised, putting into citizens’ hands the means to hold their governments to account.
All of which means there is plenty of cause for encouragement from Lough Erne, and those who pushed this rock up the hill have something to show for their efforts. The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign should feel proud, holding together a 200-strong coalition to deliver a message that captured attention and leveraged action.
350,406 ONE members who signed petitions calling on the G8 to fight malnutrition and unleash a transparency revolution made their presence felt too, and helped ensure that the eyes of the whole world, not just Britain, were watching and willing a positive result.
Transparency champions from Africa and Asia joined ONE on Saturday to tell the Prime Minister about the human impact of a lack of transparency and their own brave accounts of fighting corruption. And the performers, volunteers and supporters who came together last week for ONE’s agit8 campaign, reviving great protest songs to energise a call for G8 leaders to act, have made their mark and added to a powerful new sense of momentum in the global fight against extreme poverty.
Then there is David Cameron’s role. His style and politics may be different from his predecessor and the 2005 Gleneagles Summit remains, for now, the high-water mark for anti-poverty campaigners as far as G8 summits are concerned. He will have to take responsibility for where this summit fell short just as he should take credit for where it delivered. But he brought energy and a compelling and coherent idea to this G8 presidency and sold much of it to his counterparts.
If activists hold leaders accountable for the commitments made today just as they did eight years ago, and those leaders show by their actions that they meant what they wrote, the Lough Erne communique may yet form a very significant chapter in the story of how extreme poverty was ended. That’ll be worth a read.
What do you think? Tell us how you have been involved in events leading up to the G8, and what you think of the outcomes in the comments below.
Jun 10th, 2013 8:54 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
By ONE campaigns intern Francesca Washtell
Saturday marked a pivotal moment for the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign, as the Big IF took over Hyde Park in London and demanded change from world leaders ahead of the G8 summit in a week’s time.
The sun was shining, the sun cream was on and an estimated 45,000 people made their way to the Big IF to call for David Cameron to forge a new path to end world hunger and malnutrition.
A stunning visual petition of 250,000 spinning flowers created the image of a bowl of food. Each flower had eight petals, representing the 2 million children’s lives that could be saved each year by contributing more funding to the fight against malnutrition.
Dozens of organisations had set up tax havens, vlogging stations and workshops. At the ONE stall we were asking people about their vision for the world in 2030, which is our target for ending extreme poverty. We had some great responses, such as “love and peace for all”, “individuals in rich countries understanding the impact of their actions on the developing world” and simply, “a world where nobody is hungry”.
We were wowed by Bill Gates, Danny Boyle, David Harewood, religious leaders and Angelique Kidjo on stage. They all echoed the IF campaign’s message that ending world hunger is within our grasp – but that we need proactive leaders to increase funding for malnutrition, prevent unnecessary stunting in children across the world and alter structural problems in the global development system that emanate from tax dodging, land grabs and lack of transparency.
At the same time on the other side of London, David Cameron was hosting the Nutrition For Growth event, where an unprecedentedly huge sum of $4.1bn was pledged to end hunger and malnutrition by 2020, effectively doubling the current annual budget for these areas.
Those who couldn’t be there in person joined on Twitter, with over 2,000 people directly tweeting David Cameron’s account and dozens of countries taking part in the Global Day of Action earlier in the week.
The Enough Food for Everyone IF coalition of over 200 UK organisations has excelled in bringing together charities and campaigning groups since it launched in January. The event showed the determination that thousands of people have that we really can end world hunger and eliminate extreme poverty in our lifetimes.
Now we’ll be watching the G8 summit closely and holding our leaders to account.
May 31st, 2013 4:46 PM UTC
By Saira O'Mallie
With over 600 members in Brighton we’ve been keen to get local and get active. Our fantastic members Alan (who also happens to be our transparency guru!) and Jason booked in some time with their local MP Caroline Lucas to talk about the G8 Summit coming up in June and the opportunity we have to eradicate extreme poverty by focussing on nutrition and transparency.
Caroline Lucas wrote about the meeting on her blog:
“I had a really interesting surgery appointment recently with local supporters of the ONE organisation. The group here in Brighton is very active and I was impressed by the passion and commitment to action of those who came to last week’s surgery.
Following on from the appointment I’ll be supporting ONE’s campaign for greater corporate transparency. This includes a call for the names of ultimate beneficial owners of companies to be put into public registries.
“Beneficial owners” are those that may benefit from company ownership, for example, may receive income, even though legal title of the company belongs to others. This creates a veil of secrecy that makes theft of assets and tax evasion more likely.
Greater transparency is a crucial step in allowing citizens to track resources and enabling governments to collect revenues. Also, tackling tax evasion is something I’ve strongly pushed for here in the UK, through measures such as my 2011 Tax and Financial Transparency Bill.
I wish the ONE campaigners all the best for their endeavours in the coming months, and look forward to working with them in future.”
So what did our members think of the meeting?
“I was very excited to see my MP and to talk to her about ONE’s agenda on transparency and about the upcoming G8 Summit. She seemed really interested in the issues and happy to lend her support, which was great. And I gave her a small sunflower plant to remind her of our visit – it seemed appropriate for the UK’s first Green MP!” - Alan Hudson
“l would like to thank Caroline Lucas MP on behalf of ONE and the many ONE Brighton Constituents for giving me no doubt from the first words spoken that we were working on the same page. Not a meeting to persuade but a committed relationship in sync pushing the momentum ahead of the G8 summit. l was personally impressed when Caroline asked if we was aware of the IF campaign. We gained not just a voice but the beginnings of a committed relationship in future campaigns in the fight against extreme poverty” - Jason Alexander
It was a fantastic opportunity to put our most urgent campaign issues directly to a Member of Parliament, and we were pleased that Caroline was so receptive and supportive of the changes we want to see. We’re making her our honorary ONE member of the month!
Take action! We’ve just launched the petition we’ll be taking to the G8 summit in Northern Ireland in June. Find out why food and transparency are our most urgent issues, and add your name now.
May 30th, 2013 1:39 PM UTC
By Adrian Lovett
There’s an opportunity on the horizon. And we could make history. In just a few weeks, leaders from around the world are heading to Northern Ireland for one BIG meeting: the G8 Summit.
They’ve got a lot to do, but we’ve got to make sure two items get bumped to the top of their list: food and transparency.
If they act, millions could escape extreme poverty for the long-term. And do you know what could push them to tackle these two poverty-fighting issues right away?
This is a huge chance. These leaders are rarely together at the same time so adding pressure now really will make a difference. Add your name and urge them to take action.
Our petition reads:
Dear World Leaders,
This year, commit to fight chronic malnutrition and unleash a transparency revolution. By acting now, you can help transform millions of lives, put power into people’s hands and set a course to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Why do we need our leaders to tackle transparency? So people can see exactly how their governments are spending money.
And why food? Because Africa deserves to grow and thrive - feeding itself, lifting millions out of poverty and preventing chronic malnutrition for millions of children.
I’m heading to the summit in less than a month to push our leaders to act. I’d love to take your name with me.
May 9th, 2013 11:58 AM UTC
By Saira O'Mallie
This morning we delivered over 135,000 petition signatures for our Open for Development campaign to 10 Downing Street, home of the UK Prime Minister.
Thousands of ONE members are calling for the next set of poverty-busting goals to reflect the views and priorities of people living in poverty, and to be specific, measurable and accountable.
A High Level Panel, co-chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron are in charge of coming up with the new Millennium Development Goals, and we’ve been tracking them down around the world to get our campaign delivered.
Here is the message we delivered today:
As you work with the other High Level Panel Co‑chairs and Panelists to finalise your report and recommendations, and before you travel to New York next week for your final Panel meeting, I am writing on behalf of the 135,000 ONE members who have signed the enclosed ‘Open for Development’ petition. The petition calls on you, President Johnson-Sirleaf and President Yudhoyono to ensure that your recommendations reflect the views of the world’s most vulnerable people in the post-2015 framework, and to ensure that any new goals are specific, measurable and accountable.
Echoing your own development priorities for the UK’s G8 Presidency this year, transparency and accountability must be put at the heart of the post‑2015 framework. As well as robust citizen consultations in the design of the framework, we are calling for:
- transparency and accountability in monitoring investments and outcomes;
- improved statistical systems that are open and user-friendly (ie open data); and
- increased financing through both domestic and international resource mobilisation.
At the Monrovia meeting in January, ONE and Save the Children co-hosted an exhibition and panel discussion on transparency, accountability and the post-2015 agenda. The event was attended by members of the Panel, including President Johnson-Sirleaf, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Gunilla Carlsson, Betty Maina and John Podesta, along with Amina Mohammed, members of the Secretariat, and almost 200 Liberians. In the interactive breakout sessions, they drew up a series of recommendations for the Panel to consider, including a more inclusive consultation process and the collection of better data.
At the Bali meeting, we delivered our petition to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. At that stage, there were 120,000 signatories. In addition, we also presented our preliminary findings from our ‘You Choose’ survey, which asked Malawians, South Africans and Zambians what they wanted from the new framework. The ‘You Choose’ initiative fed into the UN’s ‘My World’ programme which is collating survey results from around the world. More than 140,000 people have taken part in ‘You Choose’: among the top concerns of respondents were “an honest and responsive government” and “better job opportunities”.
As you work to finalise the Panel’s conclusions, please consider the views of our members and the millions of people living in extreme poverty. Setting goals that are specific, measurable and accountable will help to define a path to end extreme poverty by 2030.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign. We’ll keep you updated on the progress as we keep pushing hard to make sure the voices of the world’s most vulnerable people are heard.
Apr 30th, 2013 1:59 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Today our guest blogger is ONE member Adrian Luckie, who along with Neil Adams, founded Munch Street Food. They are supporting our Global Good Revolution campaign by inviting us along to their exciting UK events to help spread the word.
I am passionate about street food and feel that by working with an organisation like ONE, Munch Street Food can create street food events that help convey the important messages regarding food waste and world hunger and raise more interest for these worthy causes.
As a trader who is part of the new street food revolution I feel it’s important to always encourage healthy eating and, most importantly not to waste food, which has such a devastating impact in the world.
Last week we organised a street food festival at the London Marathon, alongside ONE and Small Green Shoots. We wanted to create an environment where people could immerse themselves in a cultural experience based around diverse levels of cultural cuisine, highlighting food waste and food poverty and celebrate a platform for new talent sourced from inner city communities.
I am delighted that Munch Street Food and ONE have started to collaborate spreading the Actions Speak Louder message through our street food events. We will be asking some of the traders at our events to take part in the campaigns by adapting their menus to introducing sweet potato dishes, salads and healthier options.
Munch Street Food also works with organisations like Small Green Shoots educating the younger generation about these issues and offering them the platform to further develop their talents.
Our next free event is at the iconic More London Scoop on Saturday 25 May. We’ll have fantastic street food, great music entertainment and another opportunity to raise awareness of ONE’s campaigns. Come along if you are in the London area!
Have you joined our Global Food Revolution campaign yet? No? Get involved!
Apr 25th, 2013 9:16 AM UTC
By Saira O'Mallie
I can honestly say I have never been awake for the London Marathon. I like sleeping, and always felt it was a lovely event for two sorts of people that I am not – runners and morning people.
So when my alarm went off at 6am (again ONE! Why are you always making me get up so early?!) to head to Potters Field Park and set up our stall at the Munch Street Food Festival I did not know what to expect.
Here’s what I learnt:
1. The London Marathon is an amazing event and the people who go along and cheer the runners are fantastic – as are the runners themselves.
2. Munch Street Food, who invited us to join their event and a whole series of events, are wonderful.
3. It is absolutely possible to have fun, eat amazing food, enjoy the sunshine AND take action to ensure that nutrition gets on the agenda of world leaders.
Thanks to our terrific volunteers, over 150 new members took action in support of the campaign.
I’ve been banging on about sweet potatoes since World Food Day last year because they, along with other investments, could help save the lives of 300 children every single day.
That’s a message we need to keep shouting about and sharing. Over 160,000 people have so far called on world leaders to help 25 million children reach their full potential by making measurable commitments to reduce chronic malnutrition by 2016.
Let’s keep banging on about it till they do.
I love sweet potatoes so much that next time I will be dressed as one. If that doesn’t entice you I don’t know what will.
Mar 14th, 2013 12:48 PM UTC
By Michael Healy
As the budget season approaches, commentators are lining up to offer the government and particularly the Chancellor their advice on how he should go about slicing the pie come 20th March. The latest in a long line is Lord Ashcroft and Ian Birrell who argued on Conservative Home and in the Guardian, respectively, that the time has come to end the ringfence on the aid budget.
The upcoming budget represents an opportunity for George Osborne to meet the 0.7% of GNI international spending target on international aid. If he announces his intention to keep this pledge (which appeared in each of the major parties’ manifestos) the UK will be the first G8 country to reach the target, and just the sixth country in the world to do so.
Lord Ashcroft argues that aid is “ineffective”, yet if this target is reached the difference it will make to millions of lives around the world is incredible. Between 2011 and 2015, British aid will vaccinate over 80 million children – one child every two seconds – saving 1.4 million lives. British aid has also ensured that 5.3 million more children have received primary education between 2010 and 2012.
Mr Birrell’s article also ignores the successes of aid and chooses to focus solely on the fact that some aid projects fail. Aid is at its best when it works with governments, civil society and the private sector to help people pull themselves out of poverty. An example of a now booming business idea that is encapsulates this is M-Pesa, the mobile money service from Vodacom, seed-funded by the Department for International Development. You’d think it would be the sort of thing that Mr Birrell would be shouting about from the rooftops.
The UK is an undisputed world leaders when it comes to international development, something of which we should all be proud. Around the world the UK is synonymous with compassion, transparency and good practice when it comes to our development work.
Lord Ashcroft also suggests that the Prime Minister has indicated that some aid money may be diverted to the Ministry of Defence. As we’ve pointed out elsewhere, this is incorrect, and is in danger of creating a false and unhelpful debate of “defence vs aid” spending.
Lord Ashcroft has implored David Cameron to lift the ringfence to “show he is listening”. Just yesterday at Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron said “I believe we shouldn’t break a promise we made to the poorest people in our world”. Mr Cameron has showed that he is listening. He is listening to the ONE and IF campaign members who have been lobbying their MPs telling them about the importance of reaching 0.7; he is listening to the 28 CEOs of British business who wrote to the FT this week explaining the importance of aid to emerging markets; and he is listening to the millions of people around the world who are lifting themselves out of poverty thanks in part to British aid.
Mar 13th, 2013 9:00 AM UTC
By Helen Hector
Young activists in the UK have been getting messy to raise awareness about the biggest ever national campaign to end global hunger.
Ten points if you recognised the Rudyard Kipling poem If which has been re-worked for this film, and ten bonus rock-geek points if you knew that alternative metal band Enter Shikari provided the soundtrack and voiceover.
Enough Food for Everyone IF is a movement of over 100 organisations, including ONE, who have come together in 2013 to influence a series of big opportunities in the UK that could kick start the end of global hunger – including the G8 Summit which is being held in Northern Ireland in June.
The message is simple: there is enough food in the world for everyone, but not everyone has enough food to eat. The solutions to end global hunger are there, but we need to come together and make world leaders act if it’s ever going to become a reality.
If you’re 16-25 there are three exciting campaign missions to get involved in, including a creative challenge that led this group of activists to hold the paint fight. Find out more and download the campaign toolkit.
And if you are over 25 and feeling really annoyed that someone has decided you’re too old to throw paint and like alternative metal, you can either join in anyway (we won’t tell), or see what else you can do to support the campaign.
Feb 21st, 2013 2:43 PM UTC
By Adrian Lovett
This blog originally appeared in the Huffington Post
The aid debate in the UK at the moment needs one of those furniture labels: “highly flammable – keep away from naked flame”. If you go near it with anything at all combustible, you’re likely to get burnt.
There’s a big question over whether David Cameron’s reported comments on the way back from his India trade mission, in which appeared to suggest using more aid money for military spending, actually amounted to much. But in the fevered pre-budget climate in Britain, they have caused excitement and alarm.
The fact is, channelling aid money through defence budgets on any scale would quickly hit a large brick wall in the form of the internationally-agreed definition of Official Development Assistance (which Downing Street have made clear the prime minister does not want to change). As Alex Evans points out in his blog on Global Dashboard, the rules as to what can and cannot be deemed ‘aid’ (or Overseas Development Assistance – ODA – as the wonks call it) are pretty strict. The only spending that would be allowed through the MOD on peacekeeping or security is the sort of spending that the Department for International Development is undertaking already (human rights, rehabilitation of demobilised soldiers, mine removal etc.). Indeed, DFID is currently ranked as the most transparent and effective development department in the world and the UK’s security-focused aid spending was recently ranked as above average by the Center for Global Development; above the likes of the United States, Netherlands and Sweden.
However, while in truth there is little chance of Mr Cameron diverting a large amount of aid money to pay for defence, the way his comments have been seized upon risk setting up a false debate, with those backing aid spending and those backing defence spending at each others’ throats.
Look at the numbers. As our neat little tax calculator shows, a UK taxpayer earning £30,000 per year will pay £7,065 in tax. Of that, £67 will go to the aid budget and £403 towards defence. That leaves £6,595 for everything else. A proper debate about government spending should surely recognise that pitching defence spending against aid is like robbing a pretty hard-up Peter to pay an even more impoverished Paul. If you want to find where the money is in the UK budget, you don’t go to aid and you probably don’t go to defence either.
As for relieving poverty in countries hit by conflict: everyone who has worked in development knows it is hard, but it can be done. The DFID is right to look more closely at this, as the secretary of state Justine Greening promised to do when she set out her thinking at a ONE event two weeks ago.
Reducing poverty through effective aid bolsters the UK’s strategic and foreign policy interests. For relatively small amounts of money the UK is able to play a key role in some of the most vulnerable and unstable parts of the planet. As former chief of defence staff Lord Stirrup has argued, “Helping people in these areas to self-reliance… to lift themselves out of poverty and to counter ignorance, will reduce the risk of conflict”.
The UK government is showing global leadership in meeting the UN target to spend 0.7% of income on development in the year that we host the G8. Transparent aid, monitored for effectiveness, has had an enormous catalytic effect. Globally, extreme poverty has halved and child deaths dropped by more than 40% just two decades. The day when aid is no longer needed is getting closer. To turn away now would be in nobody’s interest.
Follow Adrian Lovett on Twitter: www.twitter.com/adrianlovett
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.
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