From London to Washington DC: Highlights from the RESULTS International Conference

By Matt Bell, Grassroots Campaigner from London.

In July I went to the RESULTS International Conference in Washington DC with 530 other grassroot volunteers and partners from 23 countries.

The first 3 days of the conference were used to get to know other RESULTS volunteers from around the world and share ideas and opinions, hearing from inspirational speakers and to learn, improve and sharpen advocacy skills through training sessions and interactive workshops. Then on the last day, we used what we had learnt to lobby and influence policy makers in Capitol Hill.

On the Lobby Day I joined grassroots volunteers from Indiana to meet their congressman and senators or their aides to discuss domestic and global poverty. There were several powerful stories from the volunteers when talking about poverty within tunnamed (3)he US including a man who had been homeless for 15 years and a woman who wouldn’t be able to feed her 5 kids if the proposed cuts to the food stamp program went ahead. I could see these stories had an impact on the parliamentarians and will hopefully effect the decisions they make. The main ask they had for their representatives regarding global poverty was to support legislation to build programs to end preventable child and maternal deaths, and as one senators aide put it “Who could oppose that?” They were also asking the senators and congressmen to sign the Global TB Caucus, which was started by the APPG on Global TB supported by RESULTS UK.

There were a lot of highlights from the conference, but my favourite moment was hearing from Jeff Sachs, a world-renowned leader in sustainable development, who spoke about the SDG’s and the financing summit in Addis. Two things he said that stood out for me were “RESULTS is the greatest organisation imaginable” and that it’s up to all of us to make sure the SDG’s are achieved. We also heard from Jim Kim, President of the World Bank who spoke about investing in people and economic growth to lift people out of extreme poverty. Another highlight for me was hearing about all the successes Results has had over the last 35 years and seeing how what we do makes a difference and really can change the world.

The final highlight for me isn’t a specific one but just generally all the people I met while I was at the conference, not just the keynote speakers but all the volunteers and staff who had this energy / enthusiasm and belief to make a difference for things they care about. It was kind of contagious and I definitely left feeling inspired + motivated. It’s like we’ve been set a challenge to end extreme poverty by 2030 and I think it’s achievable.

I would recommend going to the conference to anyone who reads this, I had a great time, met some really cool people and learnt so much in just a few days. Also Washington’s a great city; I had time to see the White House, all the monument and loads of nice bars and restaurants.

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RESULTS Top Five Moments From Financing For Development Conference

Over 6,000 global leaders, decision makers, government officials and civil society representatives (including RESULTS UK) gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the first of three major international summits in 2015; The Third Financing for Development Conference (FFD).

Steve Lewis and Laura Kerr share their top five moments from the conference.

1. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the Civil Society Conference

The weekend before the conference, nearly 1,000 activists from about 600 civil society organisation from across the world gathered to discuss our hopes and objectives were for FFD. We agreed on our joint priorities and fed into a joint civil society statement which was read out during the plenary of the conference.

Credit: Steve Lewis/RESULTS UK

Credit: Steve Lewis/RESULTS UK

On the Sunday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Ambassador Geir Pedersen of Norway, co-facilitator of the FFD conference, addressed a packed room of campaigners and advocates with their own ambitions and the current state of negotiations on the draft outcome document from the conference. They both explained the ‘critical importance’ of the conference and encouraged civil society to ‘use our voice’ to ensure we have a successful outcome in Addis and for the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change negotiations later in the year.

Credit: Steve Lewis/RESULTS UK

Credit: Steve Lewis/RESULTS UK

2. The Launch of Who Pays for Progress? Continue reading

Multiple Shifts in Financing for Development: Outcomes from Addis Ababa

Following the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, two blogs written by RESULTS UK child health team, Jim Calverley and Megan Wilson-Jones, were posted on the Global Health Council’s blog. Below is a summary and link to each of the blogs:

1. The Global Financing Facility (GFF) for Every Women Every Child: A paradigm shift in development financing

Steve Lewis/RESULTS UK

Steve Lewis/RESULTS UK

Yesterday on the first day of the conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon officially launched the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Women Every Child. The GFF aims to “accelerate efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths” by mobilising both domestic and international resources, improving the coordination of these funds and reducing inefficiencies in health spending over time. As such, the facility will form a key vehicle for financing the proposed healthy lives Sustainable Development Goal, and the revised Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health, helping to bring an end to extreme poverty by 2030.

Link to read the blog: GFF: A Paradigm shift in development financing

2. The Shifting Sands of Health

Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Reportage

Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Reportage

Kenya is one of many developing countries that has recently graduated from being a low income country (LIC) to a lower middle income country (LMIC). This should be a good thing – middle income countries are the engines of global growth and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular, economic growth is to be welcomed given that the African continent accounts for such a small proportion of the world’s imports/exports. But does the marginal economic growth from a low to a middle income country always translate into better health outcomes for the population?  Given that the highest disease burdens for child health and infectious diseases are in countries that are classified as middle income suggests not.

Link to read the blog: The shifting sands of health

Taxing matters in Addis Ababa

This week around 5000 ministers, officials, financiers and advocates are in Addis Ababa at the Financing for Development conference.  The event will set the stage for the next fifteen years of development efforts. If the right mix of financing streams can be identified then the world can feel confident about the ambition to eliminate the worst forms of poverty across the globe by 2030.

Yesterday 20 nations came together to launch the ‘Addis Ababa Tax Compact’. This is an initiative to strengthen international cooperation to promote more effective tax systems and fight tax evasion and avoidance. Essentially the compact aims to provide capacity building to developing countries to improve tax collection and generate more domestic revenue. These  funds can then be used to finance health and education programmes and make progress on the achievement of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Why is it important in Addis to talk about tax collection? In 2012, ten times more income was generated in Africa from tax than from Overseas Development Aid (ODA).  Tax is also a more reliable source of finance than ODA, and tax that is well administered creates legitimacy for governments and builds democratic responsibilit. Neven Mimica, development Minister of the EU, summarised the concept as “Collect More and Spend Better”.

Secretary of State for DFID Justine Greening speaks at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.

 Justine Greening, Secretary of State for DFID, speaks at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.

The UK is one of the first and major supporters of the tax compact, and Justine Greening, Secretary of State for international development, described it as the ‘beginning of a virtuous circle’. Donor nations support partner governments to strengthen the capacity of their tax collection systems, which allows developing countries to be less reliant on donors. “Investment in tax systems gives tremendous return on investment” said Ms Greening, as she made a commitment to double the DFID investment in this capacity building. The Addis Tax Compact calls on all donor nations to double their assistance to this work by 2020, whilst partner countries commit to step up domestic resource mobilisation in order to attain the MDGs.

Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki addresses the crowd at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.

Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki addresses the audience at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.

The themes of the Tax Compact reflect a study recently carried out by RESULTS UK  and KANCO, which looked at the question of how best to finance health care ‘beyond 2015’. In Kenya, at least 25% of the Kenyan population lack access to adequate healthcare , but the report, “Who Pays for Progress?” found that there is untapped tax capacity in Kenya of $2.86 billion dollars. This is more than double the current government spending on health.

The report also identified that $4.9 billion was lost to Kenya through capital flight in 2010 alone. This is equivalent to $120 per person. If tax capacity could be enhanced, and Illicit Finance Flows halted, then Kenya would be able to invest far more in primary health care and be in a position to reach Universal Health Coverage by 2030.

Illicit Finance Flows have been a major discussion point in many of the sessions of Financing for Development. Thabo Mbecki, ex-president of South Africa, spoke in front of both donor ministers and civil society advocates to call for an end to capital flight from the continent.  During the course of a High Level  Panel  which he chaired last year, with support from Norway and other nations (a copy of the panel’s report can be viewed here) Mr Mbecki found that $50billion is lost every year to Africa through tax flight, arranged both by high net worth Individuals and by Multi-National Companies (MNCs).

The Addis Tax Compact calls for an end to tax avoidance and evasion. The compact specifically highlights the role of MNCs stating:  ‘we call on MNCs to respect the spirit and the letter of tax laws’. Whether these good intentions will be enough to reduce Illicit Finance Flows will probably only become clear over the next five years. Reducing Illicit Financial Flows depends more on international tax agreements than on domestic tax agreements – and in Addis so far there have been few concrete deliverable improvements on issues like mandatory reporting of company ownership, or reduction of double-counting.

What is clear now though is that improved domestic resource mobilisation, across the developing world, does have the potential to drive significant improvements in budgets of essential health and education programmes. To this extent the developed nations supporting the new Tax Compact need recognition. But the progress made at the domestic level could be magnified ten-fold if solid progress was made to increase transparency in corporate tax payments and end the culture of tax havens and tax avoidance that characterise the modern financial system.

Steve Lewis is Head of Policy Advocacy at RESULTS UK

Follow on twitter @owstonlewis

Financing for Development – Who Pays for Progress? New RESULTS UK Report

Today, one of the most important international conferences of 2015 begins. Decision makers from around the world are meeting in Addis Ababa for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) to decide how we will finance development for the next 15 years.

It’s a watershed moment for financing all areas of development and we’re going to be right in the middle of it ensuring that finance for health is top of the agenda!

Later today, at an official UN side event during FFD3, we are launching our new report:

“Who Pays for Progress? The Role of Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Development Assistance in Financing Health. A Case Study from Kenya”

Who Pays for Progress? Report CoverWho Pays for Progress?  focuses on Kenya’s reclassification from a low-income country (LIC) to a lower-middle-income country (LMIC) exploring in particular the implications on health financing of the reclassification. Moving towards universal healthcare (UHC) is an ambition recognised in Kenya’s constitution and the report explores ways in which finance could be increased to achieve this goal.

It is joint report from ACTION partners and allies, KANCO and the World AIDS Campaign International.

Our research in Kenya has shown:

  • The health sector is considerably underfinanced and heavily dependent on ODA, currently relying on donors for 45% of financing for health.
  • Kenya’s graduation to LMIC status will impact the medium and long term financing of health from multilateral donors, such as Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Accordingly, it is important that Kenya starts planning now to ensure progress which has been  made is not lost.
  • Through increasing domestic resource mobilisation (DRM) it is possible and realistic for Kenya to increase its health budget which would allow important  progress towards UHC.

The report makes important recommendations for  donor governments and Kenya on both the importance and genuine opportunities to increase financing for health. These are lessons which we believe will be useful for other countries.

If you are at the conference, please do join us between 18:15pm – 17:45, Monday 13th July, Jupiter Hotel for the launch and look out for tweets from @resultsuk  @LauraMAKerr and @owstonlewis

If you would like any further information on the report or the launch, please contact laura.kerr@results.org.uk or jim.claverley@results.org.uk

RESULTS UK Launches New Report in Addis Ababa

RESULTS UK hosts Financing for Development event in Addis Ababa

Since the start of the year we’ve been talking about the significance of 2015 for international development. In September, the Sustainable Development Goals will be launched in New York and in November, global leaders in Paris must make important decisions on how they will tackle climate change.

However, the stage will be set for those two events at the third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa which begins next week. The decisions that are taken at Addis will have a huge impact on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the Sustainable Development Goals. Put simply, without proper financing,  the Sustainable Development Goals cannot function as they should and clearly that will impact our ability to end global poverty in the next 15 years.

Steve and Laura from our Policy Team are going to be right in the middle of the action in Addis, trying to get the issues we believe in to the top of the financing agenda. We want to make sure that amidst all the technical discussions that will inevitably take place in Addis, the voices of the people that live in poverty, little or no access to healthcare, good nutrition or education are not forgotten about.

On Monday, we will be launching, Who Pays for Progress? a new report from RESULTS UK and our partners and allies in ACTION. If you are in Addis for the conference, please join us and register here for the launch: Monday 13th July, 18:15 – 19:45, Jupiter Hotel

Steve Lewis, Head of Policy Advocacy (steve.lewis@results.org.uk), and Laura Kerr, Policy Advocacy Coordinator (laura.kerr@results.org.uk) will be in Addis for the next week, feel free to get in touch to find out more about the event or the report!

Keep up to date with the conference by following Steve and Laura on Twitter!

Invitation Who Pays for Progress 13 July 2015Steve Lewis, Head of Policy Advocacy (steve.lewis@results.org.uk), and Laura Kerr, Policy Advocacy Coordinator (laura.kerr@results.org.uk) will be in Addis for the next week, feel free to get in touch to find out more about the event or the report!

Keep up to date with the conference by following #FFD3 and Steve and Laura on Twitter!

July conference call recording now available!

We pleased to share that a recording of our July conference call is now available to download. On this months call we joined by two very special guests to launch our powerful new campaign – Leave no-one behind- Health for All

We first heard from Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance who shared how our campaigning ahead of the Gavi replenishment in January is helping to save millions of lives, before discussing some of the challenges that remain to ensuring every child is immunised. We were then joined by d’Arcy Lunn who shared stories from his time working on polio in South Sudan and the progress the country has made towards vaccinating thousands of children from the disease.

Listen again here:

 

For more information about our Health for All campaign and the different ways you can get take action and get involved, visit the Health for All campaign page or drop Tom an email at tom.maguire@results.org.uk.

“Beyond Aid” is the Refrain as Leaders Prepare for the Financing for Development Conference

Steve Lewis, Head of Policy Advocacy blogs ahead of travelling to one of the most important international conferences in 2015.

With just a week to go until the Financing for Development (FfD) conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, countries are finalising their negotiating positions. The conference, which begins next Monday 13th July, is seen as a crucial milestone to determine if the financial resources will be available for the next fifteen years of development work. This September, in New York City, the new Sustainable Development Goals will be agreed, but a shiny new set of goals will be of little value if there is not a solid funding plan behind them.

international development secretary Justine GreeningIn the run-up to FfD in the UK, Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for International Development, spoke about her priorities in a speech last Thursday. On aid she said “we urge more countries to step up to the plate and meet the commitment to devote 0.7% of national income to development”. In her statement she is very clear that aid alone is not enough. “Lifting a billion people out of poverty will take far more than global development budgets can ever provide. To deliver the SDGs…we are going to need to attract trillions of dollars a year in investment from governments and, crucially, from the private sector.”

Continue reading

National Conference 2015: What we got up to!

National Confernce Two weeks ago we held our RESULTS UK National Conference 2015. 100 grassroots campaigners, students and NGO colleagues joined us in London to hear 23 experts discuss 8 different international development topics as well as engaging in 10 advocacy meetings at the Department for International Development and in parliament, all in just 3 days. Phew!

The conference started with a full day of thought-provoking panel debates and external speakers discussing a variety of topics, including: disability inclusive development, climate change, universal health coverage and financing the future of sustainable development. Experts (including: Anja Langenbucher- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lord Low of Dalston CBE, Dr Charles Palmer- London School of Economics, Rob Yates- World Health Organisation, and Cordelia Lonsdale- Development Initiatives) debated their issue and asked each other what developments have there already been made, what is yet to be done and what potential can be found in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The second day of the conference concentrated on training the grassroots volunteers in all things advocacy. The RESULTS team explained our key priorities for the year as well as looking back at some of the highlights from 2014. In the afternoon, Tom Baker and Alice Delamere from BOND joined us to focus the group on power mapping target MPs and getting their message across in a persuasive manner to build the political will to end poverty. These new skills were put into action on the third day when the grassroots volunteers joined DFID teams, MPs and Peers in Parliament.

The third day saw grassroots volunteers share encouraging conversations with DFID teams, touching on many different topics such as disability in development, education for all, the Global Fund, and post- 2015 development. After lunch, there were meetings with Gavin Shuker MP (Labour’s Shadow Minister for International Development), Patrick Grady MP (SNP, Spokesman on International Development), Jeremy Lefroy MP (Conservative, Member of International Development Committee), Pauline Latham MP (Conservative, Member of International Development Committee), Baroness Kinnock (Labour, Spokesperson on International Development) and Baroness Northover (Liberal Democrat, Former DFID Minister) to talk about their role within parliament and how they could influence the decision-makers within international development.

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It was a jam-packed weekend, and it was fantastic to see so many of our dedicated grassroots campaigners inspired and excited about the fight to end global poverty. We couldn’t have asked for a better team and we hope everyone enjoyed the conference as much as we did!

If you would like to get involved with RESULTS UK’s grassroots groups please contact Campaigns Coordinator Emily Cabon on emily.cabon@results.org.uk.

A few of our favourite photos from the National Conference 2015 are below:

Panel Debate: Is Universal Health Coverage the right goal for developing countries? Pictured: Simon Wright- Save the Children, Jacqui Thornton- Health journalist, Dr Titilola Banjoko- Africa Recruit and Rob Yates- World Health Organisation

Panel Debate: Is Universal Health Coverage the right goal for developing countries? Pictured: Simon Wright- Save the Children, Jacqui Thornton- Health journalist, Dr Titilola Banjoko- Africa Recruit and Rob Yates- World Health Organisation

Panel Debate: Who will fund the end of poverty? Pictured: David Hillman-Stamp Out Poverty, Ranajoy Basu- Reed Smith, Cordelia Lonsdale- Development Initiatives

Panel Debate: Who will fund the end of poverty? Pictured: David Hillman-Stamp Out Poverty, Ranajoy Basu- Reed Smith, Cordelia Lonsdale- Development Initiatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campaigners power mapping there MPs

Campaigners power mapping there MPs

Campaigners ready to start a day of advocacy

Campaigners ready to start a day of advocacy

 

 

 

 

 

Campaigners with Baroness Northover

Campaigners with Baroness Northover

 

 

Campaigners with Baroness Kinnock

Campaigners with Baroness Kinnock

Landmark UN resolution urges States to monitor and regulate private education providers

Yesterday. eight international civil society organisations welcomed a landmark resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) urging States to regulate and monitor private education providers and recognising the potential “wide-ranging impact of the commercialization of education on the enjoyment of the right to education”.

The HRC is the leading global inter-governmental political body dealing with human rights. In the resolution adopted by consensus of its 47 members, the HRC has, for the first time, responded to the growing phenomenon of privatisation and commercialisation of education.

This phenomenon, and in particular the emergence of large-scale for-profit “low-cost” private school chains targeting poor families in developing countries, has received heightened attention from civil society organisations and UN expert bodies alike in recent months.

Camilla Croso, of the Global Campaign for Education, reacted: “the rapid, unregulated growth of private providers of education is already creating – and enabling – violations of the right to education, threatening to erase the last 50 years of progress in access to education. This resolution shows that States have realised that they must act now to regulate such providers – before it is too late.”

Sylvain Aubry, of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights elaborated: “Our research has consistently shown that privatisation in education leads to socio-economic segregation and discrimination against the poorest children in schools, in violation of States’ obligations, as was recently recognised in the case of Chile. The resolution adopted today, crucially highlights the obligation to provide educational opportunities for all without discrimination.

The resolution demands that States “put in place a regulatory framework” that establishes minimum norms and standards for and “monitor private education providers”. Delphine Dorsi, of the Right to Education Project, commented: “This is a very welcome reminder of States’ obligations under international law to regulate private education providers, at a time when a growing number of education providers, in particular multinational education companies, are taking advantage of weak regulation in some countries to make profit to the detriment of parents and children’s rights”.

The HRC resolution also calls on States to ensure that “education is consistent with human rights standards and principles”. Angelo Gavrielatos, of Education International, explained: “The evidence is quite clear. The growing commercialisation and privatisation of education is undermining the right to quality education. Governments cannot be allowed to abrogate their obligation to provide quality public education for every child. As recognised in human rights treaties, education is a fundamental pillar for a dignified life and must be protected as such.”

Crucially, the resolution confirms that “education is a public good”. According to Tanvir Muntasim, of ActionAid International, “this is the third time within a year, following the May 2014 UNESCO Muscat Agreement and the May 2015 Incheon Declaration, where States have described education as a public good. It is a striking response to the actors that have been trying to reduce education to a private commodity, rather than a universal right.”

The HRC insists in the resolution on the “significant importance of public investment in education, to the maximum of available resources”. For Katie Malouf Bous, of Oxfam International, “Too many governments have neglected their duty to adequately finance education, leading to weakened public schools and increased privatization as the inevitable result. Serious and substantial investments to provide good quality public education must be the antidote to privatization.

Finally, the resolution asks States to “support research and awareness-raising activities to better understand the wide-ranging impact of the commercialization of education on the enjoyment of the right to education”. Ian Macpherson, of the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative, stated: “We have been working with partners over the past few years to research the social justice implications of the growth of private actors in education, and we stand ready to collaborate with States to implement this resolution and increase and strengthen research and dialogue on this crucial issue.”

It is now time for all stakeholders to firmly take action to implement this resolution” concluded Tony Baker, of Results Educational Fund. “This particularly concerns States but also international institutions and donors, like the World Bank, that have been investing in for-profit, fee-charging private schools in recent years. These investments need to align with global and national efforts to achieve free, universal education for all to harness education’s power to break the cycle of poverty. Development actors, in addition to governments, must act in accordance with international human rights law.