For the past few weeks and months, ONE members have been on a mission to get the attention of decision makers all around the world. They’ve been creative, persuasive and above all, persistent.
Together they signed 69,352 petitions, sent 5,859 tweets, delivered 15,703 postcards, made 336 phone calls and held 112 lobby meetings. Just, wow.
French Youth Ambassadors campaigning at a festival in France for 50% of aid to go to the poorest. Photo: ONE
Italian Youth Ambassadors campaigning for 50% of aid to go to the poorest, in Milan. Photo: ONE
Belgian Youth Ambassadors meeting the Deputy Prime Minister with our campaign before he flew to Addis Ababa. Photo: ONE
UK Youth Ambassador Daphne meets Green Party leader Natalie Bennet and persuades her to sign our Just Say Yes pledge. Photo: ONE
The ONE Berlin team with development minister Gerd Muller's giant ticket to Addis Addis, reminding him to #DoWhat'sRight. Photo: ONE
Our plane tickets for the Dutch development minister to get to Addis Ababa and #DoWhatsRight. Photo: ONE
ONE members in the US used street graffiti to influence a UN meeting in New York. Photo: ONE
Why? Because last week, world leaders got together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to decide how much money goes into the pot marked ‘fighting extreme poverty’ for the next 15 years. And crucially, not just the amount of money, but how it’s spent. These decisions will affect the lives of millions of people living in the poorest countries, so as you can imagine we had a few things we wanted leaders to hear and act on.
These big meetings are never simple, and for the best possible result we needed different countries to do different things. So while leaders in the US and Europe needed to keep their aid promises and target it to the very poorest countries, African leaders needed to increase the income they generate at home by tackling corruption and improving tax collection.
That’s the power of ONE – with members in almost every country in the world, we could send targeted messages to different leaders, so they knew exactly what they could do to have the biggest impact on extreme poverty. But we did have one message for every single leader: poverty is sexist, and we won’t end it unless we help girls and women reach their full potential.
So what happened? We had 6 big things we wanted to see action on. Here’s how world leaders responded, and how we feel about it.
Basic services for everyone
Well done world. Countries agreed to make sure no-one is left behind by investing in essential services like education and healthcare. Now we want to see the actual plans and funding – from north and south – that will turn the promise into reality.
Generating more money within developing countries
This subject is finally a big talking point, which is good news. Some promises were made to boost the income developing countries generate themselves, and stop the illicit flow of money out of poor countries that costs them a trillion dollars every year. But much more work is needed to improve transparency and accountability, crack down on anonymous shell companies and follow the money coming from the oil, gas and minerals industry.
Rich countries recommitted to work towards spending 0.7% of their national income on aid, although with no clear timetable. Most are still a long way from this target. Our big ask for countries to direct at least 50% of aid to the least developed countries got a positive mention, but so far only Belgium and Ireland have committed to do this.
Investments in economic growth
The US and the European Union pledged to invest in renewable and sustainable energy, providing electricity to 500 million people in developing countries by 2030. The important role that businesses can have in development was recognised, but now we need rules to make sure this always benefits the poorest.
World leaders agreed on the importance of high quality, open data, and to help the poorest countries to collect better statistics that will help ensure everyone is counted and provided for. Now we need clear plans on how this happens. And at ONE, we’re joining forces with more than 20 organisations, governments and businesses to launch a new partnership for sustainable data, each one making pledges to harness the data revolution for fighting poverty.
Girls and women
Leaders all agreed loudly that investing in girls and women is essential if we’re going to end extreme poverty – a great result for our Poverty is Sexist campaign. Some countries have promised to make policy changes and invest more in different areas that affect girls and women which is a great step. Now all countries need to make specific plans for action that will lead to change for girls and women everywhere.
To everyone that used their voice to call for action from leaders: THANK YOU. There’s no doubt the pressure you applied led to real progress for the world’s poorest people. But there’s lots still to do.