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.

Event announced! Book reading and signing with RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris

RESULTS UK is pleased to announce a special event this autumn. On Wednesday, 29 October from 7 – 8:30 p.m RESULTS will welcome our founder and author Sam Daley-Harris for an outreach event and book signing.

The event will take place at Clapham Books, 26 The Pavement, Clapham Common, London, SW4 0JA.  Sam will discuss the 20th anniversary edition of Reclaiming Our Democracy: Healing the Break Between People and Government. To register for the event, please email felix@results.org.uk or follow this link to register online. Refreshments will be provided on the night.

Background to Sam’s work:

Many of us these days have an overwhelming sense of powerlessness when it comes to changing the world. Mistrust in politicians, a resignation to the status quo, and a seemingly endless stream of bad news leave most people feeling uninspired to stand up and take action.

But we are not powerless; with the right support and guidance we can all make a difference.

Sam has helped thousands of ordinary citizens make the journey from resigned apathy to extraordinarily powerful advocates.  In the 20th anniversary edition of his book Reclaiming Our Democracy Daley-Harris shares how he and the citizen advocacy organizations he has founded (RESULTS and the Microcredit Summit Campaign) and one he’s trained (Citizens Climate Lobby), have driven amazing change in three global movements: 1) access to financial services for the world’s poorest people; 2) the drive to improve the survival of children under the age of 5 and 3) climate change.

So register now for this one off event, and hear how you, and organisations like RESULTS, can really make a difference.

What people have said about Reclaiming our Democracy:

….The courage this book shows us how to unleash is our only hope to save creation for our grandchildren and for theirs.”

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, from the foreword to the 20th anniversary edition of Reclaiming Our Democracy

 “Sam Daley-Harris has the unique ability to bring beauty and joy to the stories of citizen movements….It is rare that one reads a book on such serious topics but with so much engagement and fun.  I highly recommend it.”

Zainab Salbi, Founder                                                                                                       Women for Women 

“….Sam Daley-Harris acknowledges the difference online activism has made but also challenges us to provide a deeper level of empowerment to our stakeholders who want it. It is a challenge we should heed.”

Premal Shah, President, Kiva

…. I applaud Daley-Harris for drawing attention to the fact that individuals who care about these issues seek opportunities for “personal empowerment” and that sustained, thoughtful engagement with advocates has a significant impact on advancing policies that ultimately create real change in the world.

 Helene Gayle, MD, MPH

President and CEO, CARE

RESULTS welcomes Anja to the Health Advocacy Team

blog photoHello! My name is Anja and I will be joining the RESULTS UK team until December as a Health Advocacy Assistant.

I graduated from university in July of this year with a BA in English Literature and International Relations, and have spent the past three months interning at a small charity that supports victims of sexual exploitation in Reading. I am a strong believer in the importance of equal opportunities for all individuals and have a keen interest in supporting my fellow global citizens in any capacity possible.

For the past year 10 months I have also been the RESULTS UK Reading grassroots group facilitator and am now excited to be a bigger part of the organization’s health advocacy work. I first got involved with RESULTS because of the unique opportunity it offers volunteers to be an intricate part of campaigning and advocacy, and I have found being a part of RESULTS UK a highly interesting and deeply fulfilling experience.

Outside of this work, I enjoy reading Jane Austen novels, yoga, crosswords, watching The Great British Bake Off and eating chocolate, among a myriad of other things.

Feel free to get in touch with me at anja.nielsen@results.org.uk if there’s anything you need.

Success! Parliament passes 0.7% bill

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It’s always great to end the week on a high and that is exactly what we’re doing today at RESULTS UK with the news that the Private Member’s Bill to legislate for the UK to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on overseas aid was passed to the next stage of the legislative process this afternoon.

Despite heightened nerves at the beginning of the week due to the Scottish referendum, 166 supportive MPs turned up to vote on a bill that will ensure that British aid continues to save lives. We applaud the commitment of these MPs many of whom made impassioned speeches in defence of UK aid to developing countries. Champions of aid and development from all three parties turned up to give impassioned speeches on why the UK should legislate on this vital issue.

Britain has a proud history of supporting aid. This support has meant that over 10 million children every year have the chance to go to school. It also means that a child’s life is saved every two minutes as a result of British aid supporting immunisation. Incredibly, since the year 2000 the number of children’s lives lost to malaria and has halved and, since 1990, we’ve halved the rate of child mortality. By turning up today, these MPs have ensured that this British aid will continue to have a transformative impact on many more millions of women and children worldwide.

Importantly, the MPs who did turn up and vote for the UK to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid are reflecting the mood of the British public. As we mentioned just the other day, recent research from ComRes revealed that the majority of the UK public support the 0.7% level. The British public recognise the importance of working to ensure developing countries can reach their full potential and achieve self-reliance in the long term.

This brings us to our final and most important group to thank – our grassroots campaigners across the country. Without the incredible efforts of our grassroots campaigners and colleagues it is likely we’d be sitting here right now wondering why our MPs weren’t voting in a way that reflected the national mood or in a way that would ensure the saving of millions of lives. But we’re not. All thanks to a great country wide campaign in the past few weeks. We’ve had grassroots campaigners meeting with their MPs across the country and many others picking up the phone, writing letters and sending out tweets in passionate support of this bill.

So it isn’t just the MPs we’re applauding today. We’re also saying a huge thank you to all of our grassroots who have supported this campaign. We’ll certainly be celebrating today and we hope you’ll all be doing the same.

RESULTS welcomes Anushree to the Nutrition team

blog photoMy names Anushree and I am thrilled to join RESULTS UK as the new Micronutrient Advocacy Officer.

I bring with me considerable experience of working on nutrition and related health projects in India that focused on women, young children, and their communities. I have worked as a Micronutrient consultant for UNICEF in India, where I supported the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of micronutrient programmes and Infant and Young child feeding programmes (IYCF) in Uttar Pradesh. I also undertook a brief project on self-management of HIV in Uganda. Recently, I completed a research project at the University College London, on neonatal care practices in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I hold two Masters Degrees, one in Nutrition from the University of Delhi and one in Global Health Science from the University of Oxford.

My other interests include cooking, painting, and yoga. I am also a trained Bharatanatyam dancer.

At RESULTS UK I will be working to strengthen political will and public support to address micronutrient undernutrition, also known as hidden hunger. We have a lot to work on, especially since the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is very close. I am looking forward to furthering RESULTS UK’s efforts on nutrition.

Please feel free to get in touch with me on anushree.shiroor@results.org.uk

Grassroots rally to help ensure 0.7% bill passes.

Grassroots campaigners from RESULTS UK have been joining up with campaigners from across the UK NGO sector to build public support for Friday’s second reading of Michael Moore’s Private Member’s Bill which seeks to enshrine in law the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7% of our Gross National Income on overseas aid.

We started our campaigning on this work in August, and have been building up great support from around the UK ever since.

Since the launch of our campaign, we have seen meetings take place between grassroots and MPs across London, in Kent, in Scotland, the midlands, Macclesfield and more. Campaigners have been getting out in front of their MPs and making the case for supporting this key bill.

We’ve also had close to 150 people email party leaders and leads on international development through our e-action, which we have been rolling out in conjunction with our friends at the Global Poverty Project.

Of the 100 MPs needed to ensure the bill passes, there are currently around 91 who have confirmed their attendance. This is great progress but we need more!

If you haven’t yet done so, keep going out to your MP, and to other MPs that are being targeted, and help drive the numbers well up and over 100.

You can read an article published on the bill in the New Statesman, you can take one of many online actions here, and you can see –and thank- MPs that have publicly committed to attend the vote here.

Securing support for this bill isn’t going to be easy, but we’re nearly there, and with your help we can make sure it passes, bringing security and consistency to the UK’s aid spending for generations to come.

Keep up the amazing work…..we’re nearly there!

September conference call on support for 0.7% now available

We are pleased to announce that a recording of our September conference call, which launched our action on securing legislation on the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on Overseas Aid.

Our guest speaker on the call was Baroness Alison Suttie, Lib Dem member of the House of Lords, who provided some amazing insight into the workings of the bill and how we can be most effective in making the case to MPs of all parties that international aid and development are worth supporting.

Click here to listen again to the call.

AND DON’T FORGET to take our e-action now.

New TB and Mining meeting announced

The Stop TB Partnership, World Bank, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria are organising a large collaborative workshop on combating TB in the Mining sector in South Africa. The workshop titled ‘A Collaborative Effort to Tackle Complex Health Service Delivery Challenges: Addressing Tuberculosis in the  Mining Sector in Southern Africa’ will take place in Cape Town on September 30th.

South Africa has half a million mine workers, employed in approximately 2,000 mines and quarries across the country. Mine workers in South Africa have the highest TB incidence in the world estimated at 3000 per 100,000 people. These numbers far exceed the World Health Organization’s threshold for a health emergency: 250 cases of TB per 100,000 people.

The challenge of TB in the mining sector in southern Africa has persisted for over 100 years due to a combination of complex factors which include: cross border migration of mine workers which makes case finding and referral difficult, different health care systems and protocols across countries, regulation of the mining industry by different government ministries, economic and socio-cultural dimensions which are all extremely difficult to coordinate. Many attempts to solve this service-delivery challenge have not been successful and its effective resolution requires a new way of thinking.

Highly affected countries are leading a novel regional approach, with the support of the World Bank Group, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the Stop TB Partnership to bring about profound change in the trajectory of TB in southern Africa in the next five years. A full day capacity building workshop is being hosted with the aim of sharing insights and exchanging knowledge from this innovative regional approach and engaging key stakeholders on how to successfully apply the Science of Service Delivery to address this multi-sector, multi-country challenge. Panel discussions and group work will be facilitated by various high level stakeholders including ministers of health and minerals, policy makers, mining industry executives, and development partners.

RESULTS UK will be attending the meeting to represent civil society and ensure full participation and representation from affected community partners.

Time to Enshrine: MPs can ‘Turn Up Save Lives’

TurnUpSaveLives2TWOn September 12th, MPs will debate whether to enshrine into law a UK Government commitment to spend 0.7% of the UK’s income on overseas aid. We look at what this Bill could achieve and how you can take action to ensure it moves forward.

Politics is not always business as usual. Our UK Parliament usually debates and votes on policies and laws put forward by the Government. But every year, a few lucky MPs get drawn out of a hat and have the chance to put forward ‘Private Members Bills’ (PMBs) on a cause close to their heart (although the Party leaderships get their say, one imagines).

This year, second out of the hat was Lib Dem MP and former Scotland Secretary Michael Moore, who has put forward the ‘International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill’. Moore’s Bill would enshrine in law a UK Government spend of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) every year on aid for developing countries.

What Could an Aid Bill Achieve?

Engaged citizens are right to want to ask - is our generosity really having an impact? The answer is an emphatic yes. UK development aid has a huge impact globally, including saving a child’s life through immunisation every two minutes – for the cost of a cup of coffee. Over 10 million children every year have the chance to go to school because of UK citizens. Since 1990, along with other donors, we’ve helped to halve the global child mortality rate, saving over 6 million lives.

The UK public, despite the protestations of a section of the media, do seem to be aware of the impact of their generosity. Recent research by ComRes has revealed that a level of 0.7% is supported by the majority of the UK public, who recognise the importance of working to ensure developing countries can reach their potential and achieve self-reliance in the long term.

Legislating for 0.7% would move the debate forward, away from ‘how much?’ to simply ‘how?’ – a focus on the best way to use this development aid. It would make funding amounts more predictable for our partners, allowing better planning and value for money. As a percentage figure, it would also allow flexibility when times are hard. It’s not an increase in spending – we’ve already met the 0.7% target in spending. For more on why this Bill is such a great chance for development, visit www.turnupsavelives.org.uk.

The State of Play

We first committed to this target in a 1970 UN General Assembly resolution. In the following 40 years only Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands reached the target. Praise is due to the current Government for their 2013 Budget, which marked the first time the UK had met the 0.7% target, and made us the first G8 nation to get there too. But the introduction of a Bill on 0.7% has been conspicuously absent from the Government’s Queen’s Speech announcements and we’ve had to wait for a Private Members Bill.

After so many years, 2014 is a great chance for all three main UK Parties to meet their Manifesto pledges – and our 40 year commitment – and enshrine levels of development aid in law. David Cameron has now signalled the Government will support Moore’s Bill, and it has been welcomed by Labour’s Shadow Development Secretary Jim Murphy.

‘Turn Up Save Lives’

The next step for the Bill – its ‘second reading’ – falls on the morning of 12th September. If 100 MPs turn up, it will pass to the next stage. However, the 12th falls on a Friday morning when many MPs would normally be in their constituencies. So it’s essential that those of us who are committed to development get in touch with our MPs and tell them why it’s so important they head into Parliament on the morning of September 12th.

The next steps aren’t going to be easy – beyond the ‘second reading’, there’s a debate to win. But first, we need to get the Bill over its next hurdle, and make sure enough MPs turn up on September 12th.

How You Can Make a Difference

Over the next few weeks, we’re encouraging constituents all over the country to contact their MPs and ask them to attend and support the Bill on September 12thFor a full list of the different ways you can do this, check of our September Action on the RESULTS website. 

Turn up, Save lives – September action and conference call announced

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On September 12th, we have an historic opportunity to make our secure the future of UK aid spending. That day, MP’s will be voting on Michael Moore MP’s Private Member’s Bill which seeks to enshrine our commitment to spending 0.7% of our Gross National Income on Overseas Aid.

On the day, we need to make sure that 100 supportive MPs are in the chamber and voting – we’re working hard with our partners from across the sector to ensure that MP’s know that they have to be there.

This month we’re going to be calling or visiting our MP’s, emailing the three party leaders calling for their support, and Tweeting our MP’s to get them in the room.

We will be discussing all of the actions, the politics behind the decisions, and much more on our monthly conference call, on Tuesday 2nd September at 7pm.

Our guest speaker on the call will be Baroness Alison Suttie. Baroness Suttie was Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to Nick Clegg, so she knows a thing or two about engaging politicians.

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.

Between now and then, read up on our amazing action materials:

Action Sheet: Turn up, Save lives
Background Sheet 1: The Best Example of UK Aid
Background Sheet 2: Talking Points and Sample Tweets
Background Sheet 3: Common Questions about Aid and 0.7%

We look forward to you joining us

Felix Jakens