Today, ONE joins 100 organisations in launching a big campaign to ensure everyone in the world has enough decent food to eat. Leading British charities and campaigners haven’t come together like this since the last time the UK hosted a G8 in 2005. Times have changed. Eight years ago, Facebook was a couple of dorms at Harvard. Few predicted that we would all be transmitting 140-character messages named after bird noises. And today’s most-followed tweeter, Justin Bieber, was 10 years old and doing his homework.
A lot of other things have changed too – especially in Africa. The number of people living in extreme poverty has dropped by 9%. 21 million more kids are enrolled in primary schools. Seventeen million fewer people contract malaria each year, while 5.4 million more people with HIV have access to life-saving medicine. The level of investment from international businesses is up 79%. And in a single decade, child mortality rates across 14 sub-Saharan African countries dropped by a staggering 40%.
This progress didn’t happen by accident. African leadership and resourcefulness, backed by the package of more and better aid and debt cancellation agreed at Gleneagles, has brought on these changes. It has saved lives, opened up life chances for millions and opened our eyes to how much more can be done. The rhetorical promise of 2005 that some found too grand – that we might actually be able to make extreme poverty a thing of the past – is now within this generation’s reach. In the next 20 years, it could be done.
And with it, the scourge of hunger could also be consigned to history. That’s the goal of Enough Food for Everyone IF… As an international member of the campaign, we share that vision. The world produces enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food – and as a result, more than 2 million children die each year because of malnutrition.
Changing this will require action in many different countries of course, and ONE’s members are active in Africa and around the world, holding their leaders to account. We can help African farmers and leaders transform the farming sector and their rural economies, through increased and more responsible private sector investment, through increased and more responsive smart aid, through helping African governments increase their tax take and through helping African activists ensure that money is better spent on supporting theircampaign against hunger and extreme poverty.
But with the international spotlight In Britain in 2013, there is a particular job to do in the UK. As well as the G8 presidency, this is the year we expect the UK to hit its 0.7% aid target. And the same year that the UK is chairing the Open Government Partnership and the Prime Minster is co-chairing the UN High-Level Panel looking at development goals beyond 2015.
So David Cameron has a precious opportunity and we want him to show bold and brave leadership. That’s why we’re working with Comic Relief, Save the Children, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Unicef and others, and we hope you’ll join us.
The campaign wants to see changes in a number of key areas:
- IF governments keep their promises on aid, and invest in small farmers, the poorest people will not only have access to more food and better nutrition, but lift themselves out of poverty too.
- IF loopholes are closed to ensure companies pay the tax they owe in poor countries, governments will be able to invest this money in their people’s livelihoods and futures.
- IF we insist governments and investors are honest and open about the deals they make, then people in the poorest countries can hold their governments to account over how they spend their money.
ONE is passionate about agriculture. We know it is an absolutely central part of the solution to poverty and hunger. Our Thrive campaign has championed this cause around the world, and last summer we brought together our members and high-profile supporters like Mo Farah, Pele and Haile Gebrselassie to urge action as part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.
And we’ve campaigned hard too for a revolution intransparency and accountability, for businesses and governments all over the world – so citizens have in their hands the information that enables them to protect their rights and determine their future. One example of this is our push on transparency in the oil, mining and gas industries to get more resources harnessed to the fight against poverty.
To find out more about the issues ONE believes the G8 should address in 2013, take a look here.
So please, add your voice to this campaign. Sign up here today and you’ll be kept up to date on how you can make a difference. ONE will be with you all the way.