Latest Global Tuberculosis Report: TB Greater Threat Than Previously Thought

RESULTS UK is deeply concerned today at the release of the 2014 World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report  that reports several hundred thousand more cases of TB and deaths than was previously thought to be the case. We encourage the UK Government to increase their political and financial commitment to fight this disease in Europe and worldwide.

With 9 million new cases of TB and 1.5 million deaths from the disease in 2013, the new data reveals that the global threat of TB is greater than previously thought. Alarmingly, it is now estimated that TB deaths in the WHO African Region for 2013 are 44% higher than the previously published estimate for 2012,

RESULTS’ Executive Director Aaron Oxley said: “When it comes to TB it is a case of the more we look the more we find. With new health emergencies like Ebola rightly grabbing headlines, tuberculosis has been a slow burning public health emergency for decades. It is clear from this latest data that governments worldwide, including the UK, need to bring urgency and renewed purpose to dramatically increase funding and resources to control TB and save millions of lives”.

These resources really are necessary. It is estimated that there is at least a $US2 billion annual gap in funding for TB globally. By filling this financing gap fundamental challenges, such as infection control in healthcare settings or laboratory capacity, that act as major barriers to effective TB care and control could be addressed.

Alarmingly, the WHO report highlights that multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) continues to represent a major global threat. Almost half a million people were estimated to have MDR-TB in 2013, although only 136,000 received official diagnosis. Of those who did receive care for MDR-TB less than half successfully complete their treatment. These figures dramatically illustrate the serious need for increased investments into research and development (R&D) for new TB treatments. Currently, a course of treatment for MDR-TB can last over one and a half years and the treatment is often accompanied by horrific side effects. Adequate investment into R&D for TB could help save many more lives.

Tuberculosis and drug-resistant forms of the disease are a worldwide problem. RESULTS UK is especially concerned to learn that the European Region has the highest burden of MDR-TB worldwide being home to 15 of the 27 high MDR-TB burden countries. Moreover, the treatment success rate in the European Region remains lower than that of other WHO regions.

Coordinator of the TB Europe Coalition, Fanny Voitzwinkler said: “It is deeply shocking that in one of the richer parts of the world, many countries are still struggling to contain MDR-TB. The European Union and Member states must immediately step up their political response to this alarming tragedy before it spirals completely out of control”.

RESULTS UK is calling on the UK Government, as a historic leader in global health, to ensure that it provides adequate financing and resources to address this global public health emergency. It is also paramount that the UK uses its leadership position to encourage other countries to do the same.

The Hidden Face Of Hunger

Anushree Shiroor, from RESULTS nutrition team, assesses new figures released this week on the number of hungry people in the world. But hidden hunger is another issue that needs increased attention.

Working with UNICEF gave me the opportunity to visit several rural communities. I spent a lot of time interacting with women, children, and grass root health functionaries, to understand health and nutrition services offered and their uptake. One of these was red coloured tablets which were commonly known to ‘help make blood in the body’. The functionaries, Anganwadi workers and ASHAs, repeatedly explained the importance of these red tablets, i.e. Iron and Folic Acid (IFA), to pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls. They also counselled them on dietary intake of green leafy vegetables and other iron rich sources.

Credit: Sanjit Das/Panos/RESULTS UK

Credit: Sanjit Das/Panos/RESULTS UK

So, why is this so important?

Today, on World Food Day, we note the descending trend of absolute hunger in the world. Figures in the new  Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report released this week show that chronic undernourishment due to hunger has fallen from 842 million in 2013 to 805 million people. But hidden hunger is a great reason to worry.

  • Over 2 billion people suffer from ‘hidden hunger’– deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals, otherwise known as micronutrients. One in two pregnant women in developing countries is anaemic. This results in adverse birth outcomes including contributing to the 20% rate of maternal deaths in these countries1. Infants born to anaemic mothers are mostly underweight, most likely to be anaemic, and at high risk of varying degrees of physical and cognitive impairment.
  • Globally, 40% of children under the age of five are anaemic. Iron deficiency is the most important cause of anaemia.
  • Diarrhoeal disease is the second largest killer of children under the age of five. Zinc deficiency exacerbates the frequency and duration of diarrhoeal episodes.
  • Nearly 18 million babies are born with brain damage due to iodine deficiency every year.

We call this hunger ‘hidden’, as it does not manifest as the palpable starved, wasted, or pot-bellied image of undernutrition. Physical manifestations may appear only at later stages (for example, blindness in young children due to Vitamin-A deficiency), but irreversible impairment to immunity, growth and development sets in at early stages.

One of the main causes of hidden hunger is poor diet – not just an absolute lack of food. Consuming only one or two types of food (often staple foods which are not rich in a variety of nutrients), is an inadequately diverse diet. Such diets cannot provide vital micronutrients in the required amounts.

Other causes of hidden hunger include infections such as diarrhoea which result in rapid nutrient loss from the body, and worm infestations which prevent absorption of nutrients from the food. Poor sanitation and hygiene environments and practices are commonly responsible for such conditions.

Women and young children are most vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies and their consequences, due to higher nutrient requirements, and their often neglected status. Hidden hunger is responsible for about one third of child deaths due to undernutrition, which itself underlies around 45% of global child mortality.

Hidden hunger has massive health and economic costs for individuals and countries alike. Children with micronutrient deficiencies are unable to achieve their full growth potential, and suffer from frequent episodes of infections. Their educational achievements are compromised, and they also have reduced work productivity as adults. This perpetuates the inter-generational cycle of poverty, undernutrition, and disease. This ultimately also hinders economic growth. Micronutrient deficiencies are estimated to cost developing countries between 0.7 and 2% of their GDP every year.

The importance of those red IFA tablets cannot be emphasised enough! As Lawrence Haddad, expressed at the launch of the GHI report, “Most malnutrition is hidden. Micronutrient malnutrition is cloaked in invisibility”. We have a lot to achieve in addressing hidden hunger.

References:

  1. The World Health Organisation
  2. The Global Hunger Index report

Recording of October conference call now available

We are pleased to announce that a recording of our October conference call is now available for download. Click here to listen again.

We were joined on the call by Lorriann Robinson, Policy and Advocacy Manager at the ONE campaign. The call was the launch of our ‘Vaccinate the World’ campaign which is seeking to mobilise global support for Gavi, the vaccine alliance, as it looks to provide life-saving immunisations for millions of children around the world.

So, click here to listen to the call, click here to take our online action, or read up on our offline campaigning for month by clicking here.

HIV Prevention – Making it Happen

amsterdam (1)

Laura Boughey is Health Advocacy Co-ordinator at RESULTS UK for IAVI. To get in touch please email laura.boughey@results.org.uk

Many of those working in the field of HIV prevention recently gathered in Amsterdam for the 2014 Partners Meeting of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the International Partnership of Microbicides (IPM). This two-day meeting brought together scientific researchers and experts from product development partnerships (PDP) such as IAVI, with advocates from all over the world.

As an HIV prevention advocate, I’m no scientist. So it’s a testament to the skill of our partners that I came away from Amsterdam with a much better understanding of how HIV prevention research is going. Day one began with Dr Phil Bergin of the Human Immunology Laboratory in London updating us on the latest clinical trials of potential HIV vaccines using ‘broadly neutralising antibodies’. Later in the day, we heard from Mitchell Warner of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), on developments across vaccine candidates and a wide range of other HIV prevention products such as microbicides (which are inserted into the vagina or rectum, and can be gels, rings or films), male and female condoms, oral and injectable drugs, surgical procedures such as male circumcision, and treatment-as-prevention (TAP). On day two we heard from IPM’s Sharyn Tenn and Leonard Solai on the exciting clinical trials currently taking place to determine the efficacy of a microbicide ring that women can chose to wear, which secretes an antiviral drug providing protection against HIV.

Crucially, the consensus was that we need a ‘suite’ of HIV prevention products that work in different circumstances and contexts, and to ensure adequate support is in place for each stage of the development process: from fundamental research, to trials, demonstration and finally ‘scale-up’. Some of the most interesting discussions focused on understanding local contexts and finding the right product, dose and campaign for the right population. This is as true for research as it is for health services, where participants’ adherence to using a product is a key factor in being able to evaluate its efficacy. Adherence and participation can be affected by many things, but it a strong finding is that participants really value the chance to help protect future generations, along with the higher standard of case received in trial clinics.

Each product in the suite of prevention tools is urgently required – no more so than an HIV vaccine. IAVI’s Hester Kuipers presented incredible new work modelling what impact may come from products in the future. Underlying it all is the central message that an HIV vaccine is needed to get ‘close to zero’, even with full scale up of HIV treatment activity. The modelling went as far as estimating what a vaccine should cost in different countries if it was to be cost-effective, and the savings it would make – a very useful resource for advocates and parliamentarians trying to influence funding decisions.

Gethwana Mahlase, speaker at the IAVI Partners Meeting

Gethwana Mahlase, speaker at the IAVI Partners Meeting

Discussions were punctuated by inputs and breakout sessions allowing advocates in donor countries to share ideas with practionners in partner countries, such as from Dr Pamela Njuguna of the Kenya Medical Women’s Association, and South African HIV nurse Gethwana Mahlase (watch her incredible story as an HIV advocate here). Conversations carried on over dinner both days – when I was fascinated to hear, for example, that UN-branded, freely distributed condoms are often stigmatised, in favour of more expensive Durex-branded ones.

The next steps for the HIV prevention community as always are to ensure funding is available so that the results of vaccine trials, or the ‘roll out’ and marketing plans in development by IPM for their microbicide ring, do not sit gathering dust. This is a hugely exciting time for HIV prevention research, and yet the challenge remains of securing funding when many products will become available over years and decades, rather than tomorrow. The job of advocates like myself is to communicate just how important it is that both donor and developing countries make this commitment now, to develop the HIV prevention products of the future.

The arguments are clear: an effective vaccine could bring new HIV infections down from 2.3 million a year to ‘close to zero’, saving up to $100 billion in treatment costs in its first ten years, and saving over a million lives a year. New HIV prevention methods will allow women for the first time to take control of their exposure to HIV. Prevention tools will help ensure all can access their right to health, and the ability to contribute to the security of their family and the growth of their country. The research to bring such products about is already generating jobs in donor and partner countries, and creating world-class research facilities, for example in East Africa.

As we build up to World AIDS Day on 1st December, RESULTS UK is calling on UK decision-makers to support the work of research initiatives such as IAVI. It is through the leadership of governments all around the world that one day we will no longer need a World AIDS Day – and it will be because of their support for HIV prevention research.

Progress is fast, but not fast enough: Taking stock of progress on Women’s and Child health

In the fourth blog from his series focusing on the UN General Assembly in New York, Steve Lewis reports on progress on Women and Children’s health in the last year.

It was impressive to find a room-full of global health leaders at 8.30am on a Sunday morning, meeting to discuss progress on health indicators. The presence of a welcoming breakfast was a clever inducement to attend on time. The other attraction was a range of high level speakers, such as Dr Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Amina Mohammed, the UN special advisor on the Post-2015 Development Framework.

Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organisation

Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organisation. “The Ebola crisis reminds us once again of the key need for strong health systems in all countries.”

The session, organised by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) described the progress around global Woman’s and Child Health as ‘mixed’. There are both disappointments and room for optimism in terms of achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 – to reduce child and maternal mortality, respectively. The positive news is that the number of children dying each year continues to fall. The new figures show that the number of children dying every year dropped from 6.6 million (in 2012) to 6.3 million in 2013. The annual rate of reduction is faster than ever before (tripling since the early 1990’s)[1]. However, the negative news is that these MDGs are unlikely to be met on time – lagging furthest behind of all the MDG targets.

In 2000, world leaders set the target of reducing child mortality by two-thirds from 1990 level to 2015 deadline, and also aimed to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters. These were ambitious targets, but considered to be achievable.  Now, one year away from the deadline, we see that unless the current rate of progress is sharply increased, they will certainly not be achieved.

More positively, financial support for maternal and child health continues to increase, with both donor funding and domestic expenditures increasing in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH)[2]. Speaking on behalf of the PMNCH, Dr Carole Presern, the director, said that “progress has accelerated in recent years, suggesting that further gains are possible with continued, intensified actions”[3]. So despite missed milestones to date, progress continues at an increasing rate.

Richard Horton speaks on accountability. "Ours is the first generation who have the chance to end preventable child deaths"

Richard Horton speaks on accountability. “Ours is the first generation who have the chance to end preventable child deaths.”

Richard Horton from The Lancet had the challenging task of presenting the PMNCH accountability report. To summarise, there are three key areas that now need to be the focus of work on maternal and child health.

Firstly, there remain “massive inequalities in intervention coverage and health outcomes,” as the hardest to reach continue to be left behind [4]. Secondly, partners must scale up the most cost-effective, highest impact interventions, such as vaccines and treatments against pneumonia and diarrhoea. Ms Anuradha Gupta from GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance, therefore emphasised the key importance of the GAVI funding replenishment conference to be held in Berlin in January. Finally, data must be collected to ensure every stakeholder is accountable, including donors, recipient countries and international partners.

Amina Mohammed assured the meeting that Women's and Child health will remain as integral parts of the Post-2015 Development framework.

Amina Mohammed assured the meeting that Women’s and Child health will remain integral to the Post-2015 Development framework.

Participants seemed confident that these three things together will continue the accelerated progress we see now on maternal and child health.  In this way we will ensure MDG’s 4 and 5 are achieved as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

Photo credits – Steve Lewis. Research – Anja Nielsen. Opinions given are those of the author and not necessarily those of RESULTS UK. See previous blogs for news of other sessions  from the week of UN General Assembly.

[1] Committing to Child Survival: A Promised Renewed” 2014 Report - http://files.unicef.org/publications/files/APR_2014_web_15Sept14.pdf

[2] Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Accountability Report, p. 5.

[3] Countdown to 2015 and beyond: fulfilling the health agenda for women and children, p. 1.

[4] Countdown to 2015 and beyond: fulfilling the health agenda for women and children, p. 1.

Tell the UK Government to Give Big to Gavi! Join our October Conference Call

Amazing progress has been made between 1980 and 2013: the percentage of immunised children worldwide grew from 20% to 84%. This equates to millions of lives saved and is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the number of children dying every year has more than halved in this period.

Vaccines are one of the most powerful and cost-effective interventions, providing lifelong protection from diseases and saving between 2 and 3 million lives around the globe every year.

However, it is a huge tragedy that every year, 21.8 million children don’t have access to even the most basic vaccines. This means that 1 in 5 children, nearly exclusively from the poorest socio-economic backgrounds and most remote communities, are missing out on life-saving interventions. This is the highest degree of health inequality; and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is working hard to ensure all children can enjoy the benefits of vaccines.

At the current rate of progress, Millennium Development Goal 4 (“Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate”) is unlikely to be met until 2026. It is therefore increasingly important that we step up our investment in vaccines for all children – given the impact they have on saving lives. We can do this by supporting Gavi’s work, asking the UK Government to continue their leadership for the next period 2016-2020.

UK Civil Society is requesting a £1.2 billion contribution from the UK, which would result in the immunisation of an additional 85 million and save 1.5 million lives. The UK is currently Gavi’s biggest donor, providing nearly a third of its finances, and this needs to continue. A significant, early pledge would encourage other donors to step up and save the lives of millions of children!

We will be discussing the importance of vaccinations and the actions grassroots volunteers can take to encourage UK investment on our monthly conference call, on Tuesday 7th October at 8pm.

To join the call, you can call 0844 762 0762, 0203 398 1398 or 0800 22 90 900 and when prompted enter 18723#. If you would like to join your local RESULTS Group in your area for the meetings, please email  Felix at RESULTS.

Learn more about GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and check out our infographic here:

Action Sheet: Save 1.5 million lives – Securing the UK’s commitment to Gavi
Background Sheet 1: Gavi - Frequently asked questions; and what is equity?
Background Sheet 2: Amazing Gavi infographic

We look forward to having lots of you join us in this push for replenishment!

Event: In Celebration of UK Support for the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)

Tuesday 21st October 2014, 6-7pm

House of Commons, Committee Room 2

Please join us to celebrate the achievements of UK support for the European and Developing Counties Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).

Every year, over four million lives are wasted due to just three diseases – HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria. These diseases impact the poorest people around the world hardest, holding back communities as they fight to live healthy and productive lives. In the case of HIV/AIDS, our best efforts to scale up treatment have pushed us to a tipping point where, with new tools, we could win this fight. For TB, we desperately need new tools to fight both the disease and the challenge posed by drug resistant strains.

EDCTP was established in 2003 to accelerate the development of new or improved tools against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria and – with substantial UK support – has contributed to a significant progression in this work. The EDCTP partnership unites countries in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, pooling resources and skills to effectively co-ordinate and implement clinical research.

As the leading investor in EDCTP, the UK has established a leading role in facilitating innovative R&D for global health. Since 2003, EDCTP achievements include supporting eight improved medical treatments, carrying out 100 clinical trials and training more than 500 African researchers. UK researchers and institutions have collaborated on 82 EDCTP projects to date. These projects benefit the UK through improved research capacity and public health gains and also build capacity and results worldwide.

This panel event will bring together experts and parliamentarians to showcase the role of innovative partnerships in Research and Development (R&D) for Poverty-Related and Neglected Diseases (PRNDs) and discuss how the UK is supporting pioneering approaches to investment in global health R&D. The event will also provide an opportunity to discuss these benefits of effective partnership between European and sub-Saharan African countries in the context of EDCTP achievements.

Speakers:

  • Dr Mark Palmer, Chair of the EEIG-EDCTP General Assembly and UK representative as Director of International Strategy for the Medical Research Council.
  • Professor Charles Mgone,Executive Director of EDCTP
  • Chaired by Baroness Suttie, Liberal Democrat Peer and Member of the APPG on TB
  • Professor Helen McShane, Principal Investigator, Oxford Martin Programme on Vaccines, Oxford University

Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session to allow discussion between those in attendance and the panel.

Please RSVP to bruce.warwick@results.org.uk

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Sebastiao Salgado, photographer, says Education should be key part of sustainable development

In the third in a series of blogs from the UN General Assembly Steve Lewis reports from the New York launch of Genesis, the world famous photography exhibition.

Sebastiao Salgado

Salgado’s photos show diversity and fragility
Credit : Sebastiao Salgado

As I entered the International Centre of Photography last night I was blown away by the powerful black and white photographs of the natural world, taken by the Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado. These pictures pay tribute to life on the planet and show the diversity of the existing populations and environment. In the week that global leaders are meeting in the UN to debate Climate Change and the future of global development efforts the photos shout out the need to embrace the environment and build an education system that teaches respect for nature and diversity.

What a privilege, not only to be able to see the exhibition, but to listen to Salgado explain why he believes education for all can be transformational for individuals and societies. “Taking these photos for the Genesis exhibition changed my life”, he said, “The photos show the existence of culture, of resilience, of diversity. The world is not one-dimensional. We need to promote education systems that promote these same values. Education is not only to teach skills but must also teach values.”

The event, organised by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), had high level speakers from UN institutions such as UNICEF and UNESCO. These institutions and supportive member states such as Denmark and Brazil are part of the current discussions over what will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they run out at the end of 2015. The MDG period saw significant steps forward for primary education, with a huge increase in primary enrolment rates, especially of girls around the world. Even so, with only a year to go, 58 million children are still out of school.

These photos show us the world is beautiful, but also fragile” said Omar Abdi from UNICEF. “That is the same with our children… Education can build resilience. It is the way to break the generational cycle of poverty. The pictures have the power to open our eyes, to see the world in a different way, and that is what good education can do too.”

Salgado speaks to crowd

Sebastiao Salgado speaks to the crowd
Credit – Steve Lewis/RESULTS

I chatted afterwards with members of the panel as we admired the photos, among them Alice Albright, Chief Executive of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). It was good to hear her say how much she valued speaking on the RESULTS global conference call for Grassroots members a few months ago. The call had been heard simultaneously in Canada, Australia, the UK and USA. She thanked RESULTS members for the support they had given in the build up to the successful GPE donor conference that took place in June.

As I left the event I reflected that in the UK now, global education is promoted and supported, but often as a means to build an educated workforce, to drive economic growth. Education will do that of course, but it needs to be more than that. As Salgado said, “where it’s delivered well, there is no force more transformational than the power of education. Education for all needs to be a core part of the next set of development goals – for the rights of the child, for peace, and for building respect. Respect for each other, but also respect for this small planet we live upon.”

Follow this blog during the week for more news from the week of UN General Assembly.

Opinions given are those of the author and not necessarily those of RESULTS UK

Climate Change Threatens Progress on Child Nutrition

Steve Lewis from RESULTS is reporting on events in New York this week at the UN General Assembly

Yesterday I marched with over 300,000 people in New York, protesting against Climate Change and the weak global response so far.  But why was I marching on an environment issue when my work with RESULTS is to manage  health and nutrition advocacy?

IMG_5125

Climate change has the potential to bring about a reversal of all the progress that has been made in recent years in improving child mortality rates and in beginning to tackle the high rates of child undernutrition in developing countries.

In our work on undernutrition at RESULTS we can see cautious signs of progress. Last year political leaders came together at the Nutrition for Growth summit and pledged over $4 billion in new money for nutrition programmes. And researchers published in The Lancet health journal the ten interventions that can be most effective in child nutrition.
So the political momentum is there.

Some countries are successfully cutting levels of child stunting. In Ethiopia child stunting rates fell from 57% in 2000 to 44% in 2010. Even more dramatic is data from the Indian state of Maharashtra that reduction in stunting rates from 39% in 2006 to 23% in 2012, thanks to a government programme aimed at infants and mothers.

But this progress is now under threat. Climate change is already altering growing seasons and rainfall patterns. Under current estimates Climate Change will reduce the growth in the worlds food supply by 2% each decade for the rest of the century.

The Climate March in New York was arranged for just before the UN General Assembly

The Climate March in New York was arranged for just before the UN General Assembly

Tomorrow at the UN General Assembly here in New York global leaders will discuss how to reduce and reverse Climate Change. The UK has said that the topic is one of their three priorities for this years UN General Assembly. If action does not commence soon the consequences will be very bad.

At present around 1 in 9 people around the world do not have enough food to lead healthy lives (800 million people). If temperatures rise by 2 degrees centigrade  this number could rise by 25 to 50% by 2050. The World Bank predicts the estimated cost of trying to cope with a 2 degree change as up to $100 billion a year.

Speaking to the media about global hunger

Speaking to the media about global hunger

Speaking with my colleague Anushree Shiroor in the RESULTS UK nutrition team, she told me about her own experiences working in India. “We made some good progress in the UNICEF programme I worked on in communities in Northern India…. But if global leaders cannot address climate change I fear that progress will be reversed. Harvests of stable food crops such as rice could fall by 20% due to increased temperatures.”

We need our global leaders to make rapid and committed progress on this issue.

To read more about Climate change and its adverse impact on undernutrition, view the following links-
1. The Chicago Council report (2014). Advancing food security in the face of a changing climate http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/UserFiles/File/ClimateChangeFoodSecurity.pdf
2. The World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2011/06/06/economics-adaptation-climate-change
3. 
UN Standing Committee on Nutrition  News. http://www.unscn.org/files/Publications/SCN_News/SCN_NEWS_38_03_06_10.pdf

Photo credits – Steve Lewis.   Follow this blog during the week for more news from the week of UN General Assembly.  The opinions given in the blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of RESULTS UK

Global leaders arrive in New York – can they make progress on a new set of Development Goals?

From Monday onwards Presidents and Prime Ministers will arrive in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Among the issues they will grapple with, two are of special interest to RESULTS and the development community – first, how to tackle Climate Change, and second, to make progress on fixing a new set of development goals.

UN Headquarters, New York.

Alongside the political  figures, leaders of all the major development institutions will be present, many of which RESULTS works with on a daily basis. Institutions such as Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance; GPE (The Global Partnership for Education)and SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) will hold events to publicise new successes or discuss innovations. Steve Lewis from RESULTS UK will be present during ‘UNGA week’, along with our partners from Canada, the EU, Kenya, India, and of course the USA.

An international consortium of NGOs called “Beyond2015” has been working to urge global leaders to set ambitious targets for the next set of Development Goals, starting 2016. The current Millennium Development Goals ran from 2000 and end in 2015.  Last week, Beyond 2015 in the UK asked Development Minister Lynn Featherstone to explain what the UK is hoping to achieve from the UN discussions.

 “The post 2015 negotiations will be one of our top priorities in New York”, said Ms Featherstone. “UN negotiations so far have made some good progress, but there is much work to do. The current draft set of goals needs to be more concise, compelling and implementable.”

 “The UK has shown leadership on setting strong development goals. But efforts to combat poverty will be totally undermined if Climate Change is not reversed. If the global climate does rise by 2 degrees we will face a very challenging situation – crop failures, steeply rising hunger, mass migration, to name just a few examples ”.

Deforestation already causes falling crop yields, El Salvador

The UK will be represented in New York by Deputy PM Nick Clegg. The government is proud of recent progress on UK aid. A bill is moving through parliament to guarantee in law the current 0.7% of Gross National Income for international development. The second reading of the bill was supported by 166 MPs, with only 6 votes against. This will be used in New York as a ‘good example’, to encourage other countries to raise their aid contributions. As Lynn Featherstone described it: “We need to broaden the shoulders of the aid effort…. at present the same countries are supporting most of development programmes. We need a wider set of contributors.”

RESULTS and other Beyond 2015 agencies will be listening closely to the sessions next week to keep the UK to its word, and to try to encourage other countries to also increase their commitment. We are insistent that the next development framework includes ambitious goals – and that this time the goal is not a reduction in poverty but an end to extreme poverty by 2030.

Please follow this blog next week to get updates from the UN and find out what has been achieved.

Photos: Steve Lewis/RESULTS

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of RESULTS UK.