The campaign for “0.7” (calling on governments to live up to a 40 year old UN commitment to invest just 0.7% of their country’s income in development aid… yawn…) feels like part of my DNA.
It’s been going on longer than I’ve been alive. Like re-runs of Friends and old Spice Girls songs, it is forever whirling around a little part of my brain squeaking “I’m still here! I haven’t gone away yet!”.
But on Friday 12th September I might finally be able to put it into a firmly sealed box called “done and dusted”. Well, almost.
As a little refresher – the UK government (along with the rest of the UN) committed to investing 0.7% of national income on aid over 40 years ago. Ahead of the last general election in 2010, all three major political parties said they would legislate on that commitment, putting to rest the question of how much money to spend and taking it out of politicians’ hands. All three of them said so. In their manifestos. That’s a promise, right?
The current government actually hit the target for the first time in 2013 and we should be incredibly proud. But there is nothing to stop future governments going back on this promise – unless we go one step further and make it law.
Michael Moore MP has now tabled a private member’s bill – The International Development Bill – that calls on Parliament’s three main parties to actually do what they said they would. Legislate. Well I never.
So what’s the process? You’ll need to concentrate for this bit.
What you really need to take away from that, is that we need 100 supportive MPs in the room when the bill is read on Friday 12th September.
If the bill passes the second reading, with the cross-party support the issue has already received, we could actually, really, honestly and truly change the law so that the UK proudly supports the world’s poorest people, and we can stop banging on about that 40 year old target and start talking about how we spend the money to have the greatest impact. A much more exciting conversation.
Wannabe involved? Well just stop right now, thank you very much, ask your MP to be there on Friday 12th September for the International Development Bill. Holler as loud as you can.
Do it for me… so I can get this campaign and those damn Spice Girls out of my head…