Jan 24th, 2013 4:25 PM UTC
By Tom Wallace
On 23 January, UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an important speech on the UK and Europe.
In his speech, Cameron set out what, in his view, Europe did and didn’t do well. As part of this he specifically recognised the role of the European Union in fighting global poverty; stating:
“We believe in our nations working together … to tackle climate change and global poverty.”
And he is right – the European Union plays a crucial role in tackling global poverty (see the result of its aid spending here).
Mr Cameron’s comments could not be better timed because this lifesaving European aid is under threat of being cut!
European leaders are meeting in Brussels on February 7-8th to decide the next European Union budget for 2014-2020. Already more than €6 billion in EU aid to the world’s poorest has been cut from the proposed European Commission budget – and some member states want to cut the proposal even more. This cut would mean a significant reduction in lifesaving European aid (you can see here the impact that this could have). Yet this actually works out at a little over a pound a year – or roughly two pence per person a week.
At ONE, because of the results this lifesaving aid would have, we don’t want leaders to meet the original proposals for the European aid budget. This aid is worth the cost and Europe should live up to its aid commitment (especially as this aid more than pays for itself in economic benefit back to Europe).
We are so adamant in our belief that we’re sending European leaders two of our own pennies to show that we don’t mind paying this tiny amount.
We think it is important to put pressure on leaders ahead of this summit on the 7-8th so they don’t cut European aid and often Actions Speak Louder! So if you would like to let your government know that you don’t think they should cut this lifesaving aid then you can also send your two pennies – just click on the link to find out more.
Jan 23rd, 2013 5:56 PM UTC
By David Cole
Today we have joined together with over 80 other organisations in the UK to launch Enough Food For Everyone IF – the biggest campaign from NGOs, charities and others since 2005.
From 6PM GMT, you can watch the live video stream from the launch event in London:
Please join the campaign and spread the word on Facebook and twitter.
Dec 20th, 2012 11:49 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
The following is a guest blog from Siobhan Palmer who attended our Student ONE shot conference in December.
On Saturday 1 December I attended ONE shot – it was a really valuable and enjoyable experience. When you spend your time signing petitions, writing to your MP, and campaigning or fundraising on your own or with only a few other people, it’s very easy to look at the news and feel as though you aren’t making any difference. ONE shot provided a great remedy to this, as I got to meet loads of other like-minded students and learned a lot more about the wider picture; what ONE does with its funding, exactly how it campaigns, and what a huge difference that makes.
Before I attended the conference I didn’t feel confident about the contributions I was making in the fight against extreme poverty. But I quickly realised that what I already do, such as sharing petitions, writing letters and getting involved in the local community, is really important. Without people raising their voices on ground level, changes at the top would never happen. It’s what people power is all about.
Being interested in campaign methods and ways of communicating messages to a wide audience, I signed up to workshops on lobbying and using the media. Both were really helpful and interesting. Having a blog, or a twitter account, can prove to be a really powerful tool. It was great to watch all our #ONEshot tweets mounting up in real time on the big screen. I thought about how within minutes of the NHS reform risk assessment being leaked on twitter earlier this year, I (along with millions of other people), had a copy of a government document saved on my desktop. One person did that. The internet is incredibly democratising, and especially useful for campaigning. I came away feeling motivated and inspired.
The next few years of increasing austerity are going to be really important in establishing what our priorities are as a country, and how we want the UK to be seen in the wider world. Personally I would much rather people connected my country with the fight against extreme poverty, than the financial centre; home of credit and bankers. That’s why it’s important that we make sure David Cameron keeps his promise to spend 0.7% of national income on aid in 2013. I’m going to keep tweeting, writing, and if necessary, shouting next year to help make this reality.
Dec 11th, 2012 12:47 PM UTC
By Tom Wallace
Yesterday, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) released a report on DFID’s oversight of EU aid. The report, based on a limited number of case studies in three recipient countries, found that both DFID and EU institutions could work more closely together in delivering aid, and that EU institutions’ monitoring and results frameworks should be strengthened.
EU aid is internationally recognised as high quality, including by DFID in its own Multilateral Aid Review. In comparative studies such as the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) index, developed by the Center for Global Development and the Brookings Institution’s Center for Global Economy and Development, aid from EU institutions to the world poorest consistently ranks among the most effective across a number of indicators. Thanks to EU aid, more than nine million children enrolled in primary education, more than five million were vaccinated against measles and more than 31 million people were connected to drinking water between 2004 and 2009. In 2010, more than 150 million people receive EU humanitarian assistance.
There is, of course, always room for improvement. The ICAI has highlighted the important work that the EU still needs to do in strengthening co-ordination among EU institutions and in reinforcing its own performance management and results framework. These steps are essential in achieving and monitoring results, and for measuring value for money. The EU is aware of these weaknesses and over the past year has been taking steps address them:
The UK government has been instrumental in securing these recent improvements in EU aid. We have confidence in the EU’s ability to implement these changes with DFID support. The ICAI report serves as a useful benchmark for both DFID and the EU in thinking about the best ways to do this. In implementing these reforms, and building on existing results, it will be important for the EU to be sufficiently funded. The EU aid budget – principally the Development Co-operation Instrument and the European Development Fund – should therefore be supported at the levels proposed by the European Commission during current negotiations of the next seven-year EU budget.
Dec 5th, 2012 5:58 PM UTC
By Joseph Powell
The UK government has set a clear precedent that Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) volumes will be proportionally pegged to the size of the UK’s Gross National Income (GNI). It was re-confirmed today that ODA will be funded at 0.7% of GNI from 2013, making the UK the first G8 country to reach the target set by the United Nations in 1969.
In today’s Autumn Statement, economic growth forecasts were also revised down again meaning that the projected ODA budget has been reduced by a total of £680m over the next two financial years (2013-14, 2014-15). This will still be equivalent to 0.7% GNI. This year ODA is expected to be 0.56% of GNI.
ONE expects the reduction in projected aid volumes to come entirely from DFID’s budget (other government departments were expected to spend around 6% of UK ODA over the next two years).
Last year’s Autumn Statement announced a £1.17bn downward revision in ODA, meaning that in addition to today’s announcement, compared to plans at the start of this Parliament in 2010, we expect the total volume of aid will be at least £1.85bn lower than expected. Over the next two years this means a reduction in budget of approximately 6% against the settlement DFID used as input to their operational plans at the start of 2011.
DFID officials believed that with last year’s reduction they could still meet their bilateral and multilateral commitments. We will be pushing for DFID to be transparent about the potential effects of today’s announcement.
Finally, today is the first time that the government has projected ODA in 2015-16 at 0.7% GNI. This is positive as it makes clear that the government is preparing to hold ODA at 0.7% beyond the lifetime of the 2010 Spending Review.
Responding to the announcement ONE’s Europe Executive Director Adrian Lovett said:
“That economic reality makes the Chancellor’s confirmation that Britain is committed to meeting its target of spending 0.7% of GNI on international assistance in 2013 and thereafter all the more important.
The UK must now play a vital role in bringing other countries up towards 0.7%, through protecting European aid in the ongoing EU budget negotiations and through their leadership of the G8 next year.”
Nov 21st, 2012 6:36 PM UTC
By Diane Sheard
British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the UK-chaired G8 summit next June will be held in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland. In a blog earlier this month, ONE’s Adrian Lovett set five tests for Cameron in 2013, the third of which was using the UK’s G8 presidency to help ensure that ours is the generation that eradicates extreme poverty.
In his announcement, Cameron lay out three G8 development strands, building on his ‘golden thread’ narrative: advancing trade; ensuring tax compliance; and promoting greater transparency. As you may have read elsewhere on the ONE Blog, the golden thread is a distinct approach to poverty reduction which argues that if societies are to move from poverty to prosperity, they need to have the right institutions and governance arrangements in place, with people empowered to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that they face in their daily lives.
Cameron expanded on this in an op-ed on Wednesday, in which he said that “as more and more countries attract investment, exploit their natural resources and expand their tax base, Africa’s development prospects increasingly rest on its ability to harness domestic resources for the benefit of all”, and that “there are several ways the G8 can uniquely support this process, advancing transparency in order to empower citizens to take charge of their own destiny.” We couldn’t agree more. Greater transparency – of aid flows from donors, of government budgets, of tax and illicit finance, and within the extractives industry – is central to this. And what’s more, we expect G8 leaders to put their own houses in order, including looking at tax havens and the recovery of stolen assets within their own countries.
In addition to the golden thread focus, Cameron will host a high-level food and nutrition event just ahead of the G8, building on this year’s Olympic hunger summit. The New Alliance, launched at the 2012 G8 in Camp David, committed to lifting 50 million out of poverty through investment in agriculture. Next June, leaders must enhance and expand the New Alliance if we are to make progress towards this goal. Donors must also commit to backing African governments’ agriculture plans with the necessary resources, as well as enhancing nutrition.
We are hopeful that making real progress on trade, tax and transparency could pass the third test that Adrian has set. There is certainly real potential. Northern Ireland’s recent history has demonstrated how bleak prospects and endemic pessimism can be overcome within a generation with the right combination of time, resources and political will. For the goal of ending extreme poverty, we need the same ingredients. This is Adrian’s fifth test: whether Cameron – and other G8 leaders – are prepared to invest the necessary time, resources and political will.
Nov 14th, 2012 4:57 PM UTC
By Saira O'Mallie
Yesterday I delivered over 150,000 signatures to Stephen O’Brien MP, the Prime Minister’s Envoy & Special Representative to the Sahel.
12 million people are still at risk in the Sahel region of West Africa due to the worst droughts for 60 years, so we wanted the UK government to hear our call to end the cycle of crisis and expand the New Alliance.
The New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security will “increase responsible domestic and foreign private investments in African agriculture, take innovations that can enhance agricultural productivity to scale, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities.”
It’s an ambitious commitment, and although the petition is now out of our hands, we’ll be sure to hold the UK government and New Alliance partners to account.
150,000 people are watching, while 12 million wait for these words to become actions.
Nov 5th, 2012 12:59 PM UTC
By James Fisher
If you had one shot, one opportunity, to make a difference… would you take it?
Next year the UK is in a unique position to strike a blow against extreme poverty. We need to be ready to take the opportunity.
ONE is inviting all UK university students to our national conference, ONE shot, to find out what’s happening, why it matters and what you can do about it.
Saturday 1st December
ONE will be joined by guests including Comic Relief, former Government advisors, Blue State Digital (Obama for President Campaign) and our partner (RED).
In one day you will:
You might only get one shot. Don’t miss it.
Limited spaces available. Register your place for free online before 26th Nov.
Nov 2nd, 2012 1:00 PM UTC
By Adrian Lovett
A world in which 870 million people are chronically undernourished is not best served by small thinking. That’s why it is entirely fitting that in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, David Cameron sets out a vision to make this the generation that eradicates absolute poverty. What seemed a few decades ago to be an idle pipedream is now tantalisingly possible, with a surge of political will and resources in the coming years. The fact that Cameron has articulated this goal, when economic austerity and cynicism with politics makes some view such ambition with scepticism, is a very good sign. He knows such a goal is achievable and appears ready to play his part to make it happen.
But Cameron has done more than set a lofty goal. He has articulated a distinct approach to poverty reduction – the ‘golden thread’ – which argues if societies are to move from poverty to prosperity, they need to have the right institutions and governance arrangements in place, with people empowered to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that they face in their daily lives.
So far, so good. The notion may be open to misinterpretation by some, but the ‘golden thread’ combines conviction and common-sense. So if genius, as Thomas Edison remarked, is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration, the Prime Minister can probably tick off the first half of the formula. But to realise the potential of the smart approach he champions in pursuit of the big vision he has described, he and his team now need to break a sweat.
The leadership challenge is to flesh out the ‘golden thread’ with ambitious policy changes and a diplomatic plan to sell them on the world stage. Neither of these challenges is straightforward but Britain is in a unique position to deliver on them in 2013, thanks to a series of leadership moments where extreme poverty will be centre stage. Each of them will require a carefully constructed alliance of leaders from across the world, from governments, multilateral institutions and civil society. If Cameron can meet five tests in 2013, he will have a justified claim to a place in the history of the fight against poverty.
The first test is to maintain the UK’s commitment to meet the internationally agreed spending target of 0.7% of gross national income on aid. Well-spent British aid transforms lives around the world. Reaching 0.7% means that by 2015 British taxpayers will have supported 16 million children to go to school and paid for vaccinations that will save 1.4 million lives. The UK government should ensure that investment in agriculture is a priority, building on recent commitments to reverse the decades of underfunding for a sector that is the primary occupation of the majority of people living in poverty.
Second, Cameron should use his role as co-chair of the United Nations panel on what will follow the Millennium Development Goals to set an ambitious new set of global poverty targets. The first set of goals from 2000 agreed that extreme poverty should be halved by 2015. World leaders must now set a course to eradicate extreme poverty entirely – and plot the clear steps towards that destination.
Third, the G8 in June must be a moment of clear policy delivery on the ‘golden thread’. The last UK hosted G8 secured important increases in aid and debt cancellation to help directly fund the fight against poverty. In 2013 aid remains an important part of the picture, but as more and more countries attract investment, exploit their natural resources and expand their tax base, Africa’s development prospects increasingly rest on its ability to harness domestic resources for the benefit of all.
There are several ways the G8 can uniquely support this process, advancing transparency in order to empower citizens to take charge of their own destiny. They must act on natural resources, which have too often been a wasted opportunity for developing countries. Cameron’s call for Europe to at least match US legislation requiring extractive companies to publish what they pay governments, broken down to individual projects, is welcome.
The UK should also go a step further by signing up to the voluntary Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and ending the double standard of asking developing countries to sign on without being members themselves. But the G8 should also agree a package of measures to ensure that newly liberated data about financial transactions between companies and governments is effectively used. Civil society and anti-corruption bodies need to be supported – financially if needs be, through a G8 ‘Follow the Money’ Fund – and government revenue authorities beefed up. The same institutions will benefit from progress on budget transparency, which the G8 should support by endorsing fiscal transparency principles and public procurement efficiency measures. Transparency around other issues including large scale land deals and tax should also be increased, with rules that enable politicians and companies to hide their ill-gotten gains behind a wall of secrecy re-written too. Only then will the illicit financial flows that drain Africa of precious government revenue begin to slow down.
The fourth test is galvanising momentum for world leaders to follow through on bold commitments that will ensure there is enough food for everyone. Cameron has multiple opportunities to lead in 2013 and make sure these promises are kept. As well as the G8, meeting, he announced yesterday that the UK will host a summit next year to focus global attention on agriculture and nutrition.
The New Alliance launched at this year’s G8 to lift 50 million out of poverty through agricultural investment should be expanded to more countries and backed by funding pledges that run until at least 2015. It should also include an accountable partnership on nutrition between developed and developing country governments and the private sector. The Maputo commitment made by African governments to ring-fence at least 10% of national budgets for agriculture will reach its tenth anniversary in 2013 – the summit can also be part of an accountability moment on that promise. Backing African leadership with investment in fully vetted, costed country-owned agriculture and nutrition plans will truly help the continent not merely to survive but to thrive. This must be a core component of a ‘golden thread’ that gives people the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.
The final test, which underpins all of the first four, is whether the British government will devote the necessary time and resources to make all of this a success. The ideas and vision are in place but good intentions alone cannot deliver. Have the Cabinet and embassies around the world been drilled into action, with a common determination across all offices of state to pursue an ambitious agenda with drive and discipline? What is the plan for hitting the phones, getting on the road, twisting arms and offering deals to get a result next year? How exactly will Downing Street use each of the thirty-odd weeks between now and the British G8? What plans are being made to leverage British aid at a string of vital multilateral replenishment moments, ranging from the Global Fund to the African Development Bank? These are the questions that will ultimately decide if the ‘golden thread’ fulfils its potential as a means to tackle the causes of poverty.
Citizens and civil society have a big part to play. There needs to be a concerted effort to engage and enlist the public in the next stage – perhaps the decisive one – of the journey towards the end of extreme poverty. That campaigning energy must push the British government, and others, to go the extra mile and make the most of this impressive roster of opportunities in 2013. No one can afford to look back in a year’s time with regret. Least of all David Cameron.
Oct 26th, 2012 5:19 PM UTC
By Joseph Powell
On Tuesday the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, made her strongest statement yet in support of the proposed EU aid budget for 2014-2020. At the annual BOND conference she said:
“We do think [the development agenda] is one of the priorities and we will be making the case for it as part of budget negotiations. There are going to be some quite fundamental [debates] and we’ll have to see how they get on, but it will be one of the areas we focus on. It is fair to say the European Development Fund, when we put it through our Multilateral Aid Review in 2011, it came with a good score.”
You can listen to the full speech here. Her answer on European aid begins at 27 minutes.
Over the next few weeks politicians from across the continent will be negotiating the size of the European Union’s budget for 2014-2020. At stake is €51 billion of aid targeted at the world’s poorest. ONE is asking leaders to go on the record in support of this part of the budget in order to protect it from cuts that would have a dramatic impact on the EU’s ability to help tackle poverty around the world. Justine Greening’s statement this week represents an important step forward in the campaign, and we look forward to the UK playing a key role in standing up for the EU aid proposal.
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.