Jun 16th, 2010 11:25 AM UTC
By Brie O'Keefe
On June 3, ONE hosted a parliamentary reception at the National Gallery in Ottawa, Canada to raise awareness on maternal and child mortality ahead of the G8 in Muskoka later this month. Featuring a special appearance by model and activist Christy Turlington-Burns, we showed a clip of her new documentary No Woman, No Cry.
Ottawa-based ONE member Kirika Bussell attended the screening, and sent us this great photo and blog update:
People often advocate for a cause because of a direct link to a situation, or because we know someone who has been affected. It was her health scare following the birth of her first child that prompted Christy Turlington-Burns to learn about and then advocate for maternal and child health. She survived a common post-partum complication because of timely access to quality medical treatment, but not all women are so fortunate. It was this experience that inspired No Woman, No Cry.
Every minute a woman dies from preventable complications during pregnancy or birth. What is stopping us from keeping these preventable deaths occurring again and again? If the answer lies in education, compassion and understanding, then Ms. Turlington Burns has made the job of spreading the message more accessible, and more importantly, she has put a human face on what could simply be seen as another sad statistic.
At the screening I was fortunate enough to speak with Christy Turlington Burns about the concept that we all have a stake in the future of maternal and child health. She agreed that it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, a father or mother, or if you’re childless- this is a universal issue.
When I volunteered to assist with the ONE’s screening at the National Gallery, one of my goals was to help maximize the opportunity to generate interest and keep the issue moving. Reflecting on this event after the fact, I can say my interest in this issue has only grown the more I’ve learned. I hope other ONE members come to feel the same way. Everyone’s reasons to act are different, but when we do act, together we can act as ONE voice for proactive, comprehensive change. The future is ours, but the choice to act is yours.
Kirika M. Bussell, Ottawa, Canada
If you’d like a sneak peak at Christy’s documentary, visit www.everymothercounts.org.
To sign ONE’s petition to the G8 for 3.5 million new health workers go to:
Jan 27th, 2010 12:05 AM UTC
By Joseph Powell
Africa will lose out if money pledged by rich countries at the Copenhagen climate change meeting last December does not come in addition to their existing aid promises. This is the stark message in a research paper from leading development think tank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), commissioned by ONE.
The report states that if finance for climate change adaptation were to come from existing and promised aid flows it would necessarily result in a money being taken away from health and education, and reallocated to sectors such as agriculture, coastal defence and water.
While sub-Saharan Africa receives 38% of global aid, the World Bank estimates that their share of adaptation needs is 22% – in part because there is less expensive existing infrastructure to protect. ODI conclude that “It is crucial to underline the importance of additionality of climate finance to aid. If this is not explicitly stated and implemented, the possibility of aid diversion allocated according to adaptation needs is likely to lead to the neglect of aid to Africa.”
The findings come just days after Bill Gates warned in his annual letter that health funding could be cut if the $100bn target set at Copenhagen took money out of other development priorities. “If just 1% of the $100bn goal came from vaccine funding, then 700,000 more children could die from preventable diseases” he wrote. If countries do not avoid this type of dangerous double counting, the already off track Millennium Development Goals will be dealt another heavy blow.
The millions of people around the world who took action in the run-up to Copenhagen, including tens of thousands of ONE members, will now be needed more than ever as we attempt to make sure that vital work on climate does not come at the expense of the world’s poorest people.
Update: The Financial Times today published a letter from ONE’s co-founder and Executive Director Jamie Drummond on this important issue. Read the letter here.
Oct 9th, 2009 7:55 PM UTC
By Steve Wilson
NY Times—In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy
In a surprise selection, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that the annual peace prize was awarded to Barack Obama, just nine months into his presidency, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
AFP—African policy makers meet to discuss development, climate change
African policy makers will meet today to discuss climate change only two months before a critical UN summit where African countries are poised to seek billions in compensation for the effects of global warming. At the forum organized by the government of Burkina Faso together with the United Nations and the African Union, several African heads of state will meet key policy makers to discuss the opportunities climate change could offer for sustainable development. The World Bank estimates that the developing world will suffer about 80 percent of the damage of climate change despite accounting for only around one third of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Reuters—Chinese companies sign $6 billion Congo deal
Chinese companies have signed an amended $6 billion infrastructure and loan deal with Democratic Republic of Congo, China’s ambassador said yesterday, a step seen clearing the way for debt relief for the African nation. The IMF had feared the contract, which uses Congo’s mineral reserves as a guarantee for infrastructure projects, could plunge Congo deeper into debt. The size of the deal was cut in August to $6 billion from an original plan of $9 billion, and Congolese government guarantees connected with the mining aspect of the agreement were taken off the table.
TIME Magazine—10 Questions for Muhammad Yunus
TIME magazine interviews Muhammad Yunus, a man who himself has won a Nobel Prize for his efforts to create and expand microcredit services for the world’s poor. Yunus says extreme poverty can be ended, and the first step is to “make people believe that we can send poverty to museums. When I talk about it, people laugh and say, ‘It’s impossible.’ But when you don’t believe something, you can’t achieve it. You have to imagine and make that imagination achievable.”
Reuters—Impoverished Haiti is stabilizing but still risky
Led by the calls of Bill Clinton, who is serving as Special UN Envoy to Haiti, many private and government officials say impoverished Haiti is showing signs of stabilization. Private investors and NGOs said this week they believe a window of opportunity has opened to put money into a country desperately in need of roads, power and foreign investment. About 70 percent of Haiti’s 9 million people still live on less than $2 a day.
Sep 30th, 2009 8:46 AM UTC
By Mikiko Imai
The summit of G20 leaders in Pittsburgh last week, a year after the Lehman shock, was always going to be about economic recovery and on whether we need to regulate banker’s bonuses. So, did they talk development, at all? The short answer is yes. First, they reaffirmed previous commitments that they have made to the poor. Second, the leaders called on the World Bank to develop a new trust fund to support the new Food Security Initiative agreed at L’Aquila G8 Summit in July. Third, they agreed to review the capital needs of the multilateral development banks, especially the World Bank’s soft loan arm, the International Development Association (IDA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
But, there were some clear omissions too. On climate change, even though some G20 leaders committed to scaling up its assistance at the UN High Level Summit on Climate Change just a few days ago, the G20 as a group failed to call for resources to help the poorest countries adapt to the harmful impacts of climate change, and tackle its causes.
This Summit was another opportunity to recognise Africa as part of the solution to the global economic recovery. We thought that the best way to underscore the important role that the continent plays in today’s world is for the G20 to agree to hold an upcoming G20 Summit in Africa. With the G20 becoming the new G8 and the next several hosts already queued up (Canada in June 2010, South Korea in November 2010, and France in 2011), unfortunately, there will be no “G20 Africa Summit” any time soon. One thing is sure though – regardless, ONE will urge these leaders to keep the challenges of Africa and the world’s poor as an important issue on their table.
Sep 25th, 2009 9:20 AM UTC
By Virginia Simmons
Earlier this week, I attended the unveiling of a giant 200-foot mural created by the “Moving the Lives of Kids” (MLK) Community Project in downtown Pittsburgh.
ONE’s petition asking the G20 to hold a future meeting in Africa covers 100 feet of the wall. The MLK team, including nearly 20 local artists and 30 children from the community, painted the wall in less than five days. When we arrived for the unveiling and press conferences (and as it started to pour down rain) they were putting on the final finishing touches.
(If you’re in Pittsburgh, the mural is on Ross Street between 3rd and 4th.)
Sep 23rd, 2009 4:20 PM UTC
By Jessica Gomez-Duran
Climate change is obviously featuring heavily in the media at the moment but it seems like there’s been a lot in the UK media recently about the link between climate change and health.
Two world renowned and highly respected medical journals, the British Medical Journal and the Lancet, this week published the same editorial simultaneously which warned that we are facing ‘a global health catastrophe’ due to climate change. And that this will impact the poorest of the poor the most. To read the editorial, click here. The World Development Report [link], published last week by the World Bank, contains some scary facts around this issue including that “dengue has been expanding its geographic range, and climate change is expected to double the rate of people at risk from 30 percent to up to 60 percent of the world population (or 5 billion to 6 billion people) by 2070.”
Sep 23rd, 2009 3:32 PM UTC
By Chris Scott
Diane Sawyer just wrapped up moderating a really engaging panel with Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO of Women for Women International; Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation; Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Women’s Issues in the State Department, and Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group; and Edna Adan, Director and Founder, Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital.
Sawyer framed the discussion as “the river of what is right converging with the river of what is needed” which I think really captures the spirit of what I’ve seen so far at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting. President Clinton, while introducing the panel claimed that in many places in the world, no matter how hard and long women work they rarely get as many opportunities and choices as men do. The panel echoed this sentiment with most, if not all, of the participants agreeing that education is the key to achieving equality for all women. According to Ambassador Verveer– the first such Ambassador-at-Large for Women’s Issues (something that drew a big round of applause from the audience)– framed education as key to confronting extremism.
A lot of the discussion centered around the fact that women account for such a large percentage of the workforce in developing countries yet are rarely compensated to the degree that men are. This, according to Zoellick emphasizes the need to train greater focus specifically on girls and women. As he put it, it’s not an issue of giving special advantages to women, but just helping them achieve a level playing field. Indeed, as was echoed at numerous points in the panel, saving one woman often means saving an entire family. This opportunity has drawn the attention of businesses such as Godman Sachs and ExxonMobil to invest in women and children. At one point, when discussing ExxonMobil’s efforts in developing countries, Tillerson suggested and funding in and of itself is not the whole solution. Salbi quickly retorted that while this may be true in part, girls and women still continue to receive an incredibly small percentage of development funding.
Also touched on during the panel was the role of technology and innovation in empowering women. Ambassador Verveer listed both mobile banking and cell phones as being on the front lines in creating positive change. Zoellick also emphasized the need for basic technology– such as electricity– in many developing countries.
Sep 23rd, 2009 3:31 PM UTC
By Chris Scott
As I write this Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo is moderating a panel on the G20 and its impact on global challenges. Partaking in the discussion is Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands, President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina, Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers, and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
All members emphasized the importance and necessity for the G20 in the wake of the global financial crisis, with President Kirchner and IMF Director Strauss-Kahn underscoring the need for further support of emerging countries and economies. Strauss-Kahn went so far as to suggest that more countries be brought into the G20 citing a larger problem of “global imbalance.”
According to the Director, “for the G20 to be effective, we need more countries to feel represented” so people around the world can accept the decisions that are made at G20 Summits. As you know, the next G20 Summit in Pittsburgh is just days away.
Sep 23rd, 2009 12:18 PM UTC
By Alexander Woollcombe
The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) have gathered in sunny, sedate Bournemouth for their party conference – showing the world they are serious. Since the recent expenses scandal here in the UK more MPs are staying in cheap Bed and Breakfasts than swanky hotels. According to one activist there are more suits than ever before, especially black ones. I thought as a ONE worker the Jeremy Clasrkson, jeans’n’jacket combo would strike the right sartorial chord. I was wrong: suits all the way, ties for the politicians, open neck shirts for those, like me, eager to rebel.
It’s a difficult balance: the Lib Dems want to be recognised as progressive, authoritative and ahead of the curve politically – their Treasury Spokesperson and Deputy Leader Vince Cable has led the charge, throughout the economic crisis he has bestrode the sofas of political chat shows like a 21st century, economic Colossus. At the same time the Lib Dems also want to be “different” – unlike Labour and the Conservatives who they say don’t care about “normal people”.
Who are these “normal people”? What do they care about? Does caring about them mean getting them interested in issues which don’t obviously affect their everyday lives?
The truth is out there but political parties don’t know what it is. They have polling yet still disagree about what it means.
That’s why ONE is launching ONE Vote 2010 campaign. 2010 will be the biggest year for British politics since 1997 when Labour came to power. The economic climate means every single pound of Government money will be scrutinised as never before. ONE Vote 2010 will start a conversation about why we must both keep our promises to the world’s poorest people and get better at helping them.
Some will question whether we can afford to increase our help to Africa when Britain faces so many problems: is this a priority? Do people care? I think so, and we’re going to find out.
Few thought Africa and development would be a big issue in the last US Presidential campaign. But ONE ran an unprecedented, non-partisan, hugely successful ONE Vote 08 campaign which won the support of all the major candidates and a major award from the Center for Global Development. Since coming into office President Obama has pledged to double aid to Africa despite the US’s financial problems.
We live in an interconnected world and 2010 will be a huge year for Africa: the first football World Cup to be hosted in Africa, 25 years after Live Aid, 5 years after Live 8 and Make Poverty History and 5 years before the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.
2010 will be a moment to celebrate the achievements of recent years and accelerate progress in the years to come. The UK is seen as a global leader on international development. As the Lib Dems and other parties think about how to make the public like them, everyone reading this needs to let their local candidates know that being serious about eradicating extreme poverty matters more than whether they’re wearing sharp suits or staying in a B&B.
Sep 11th, 2009 5:35 PM UTC
By Eloise Todd
We’ve shuttled between London and Brussels frequently in the past, and now we’re setting up a permanent office.
Right now Team Brussels consists of me, myself and I. Come next year, we’ll have a small team in place. For the moment I’ve taken a temporary desk space in the ‘Hive’ at the fantastic new Mundo-b NGO building. I’m one of the many solitary bees in the Hive – turns out that fellow bees includes people working on the cotton trade, on Zimbabwe, and the rest of the building is dominated by climate change and development organisations.
It’s a really exciting time for us to be opening up an office and deepening our work in Brussels – it’s all change in the city with a new Parliament already sworn in, a new Commission due by November, and new rules of the game possibly coming in. There may well be a European President to boot. Change brings opportunity and we’re hoping to capitalise on some of that to the benefit of those in the developing world. Budget reform in the EU will bring opportunities to fight for more resources, trade and climate are also in the hands of Brussels. And we will be looking for all the opportunities to make change happen within those processes.
My first week here has been a heady mix of getting reintegrated into the Brussels policy village, working out how to book a meeting room and dealing with the slight technical hitches that accompany moving abroad. There’s a buzz in the air, Brussels is in flux and I’m eager to get on with the job. There’ll be more coming soon!
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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