Labour are Committed to International Development
Labour has always believed international development is an important issue. We have taken various steps over the last 10 years to aid developing nations and have had success in these areas. Under Labour Briatain’s aid budget has doubled and the UK has become the world’s second largest bilateral donor to disaster funds. In the wake of the devestating earthquake in Haiti, Britain was quick to send support and specialist teams, and following assesment for the scale of the crisis Douglas Alexander has annonced the relief fund will be trebbled to $30million. Labour has also lead the world on staying on target to fulfil the Millenium Development Goals, and made Britain the world’s second largest donor to the global fight against diseases like HIV/Aids and malaria. Labour has also launched a Governance and Transparency Fund to resource citizens, media and parliaments so they can hold their governments to account.
These are all significant and progressive achievements, but we cannot be content with the way things are. The recent financial crisis has hit developing countries increibly hard, and the first effects of climate change are already causing freak weather and failed harvests. Writing in the Independent the Prime Minister said ‘Let me put the toll plainly. It is feared that 400,000 more children will die each and every year and millions more who would otherwise be on the path to learning will grow up unable to read and write.’ These are very difficult time and action must be taken on an international scale to meet the challenge.
Labour is committed to funding international development and contining the work to end global poverty. There are various initiatives put forward by the party to make this belief into concrete realities.
40 years ago leader pledged to spend 0.7% of their Gross National Income on aid. Labour have published draft legislation making the UK the first country to make this pledge ia permenant guatrentee. As the Prime Minister wrote, this aid is vital for keeping open schools and hospitals and as a safety net for the destitute, though it is not the whole answer.
Labour is committed to finding new an inivative ways to fund international development. New and fresh ideas are coming to the surface, for example the IMF is examining the role of the financial sector, including a global financial transactions tax which could raise substantial revenues.
Labour want to ensure developing countries invest in their future rather than just in disasters as they arise. Through G20 Labour has the chance to encourage growth in low income economies like never before, helping developing countries to help themselves.
Education is an important way of doing this. Education is seen by many as the key to breaking out of a cycle of poverty and sustainably improving a counrty’s economy. The Prime minister will be meeting with Sepp Blatter from Fifa and President Zuma of South Africa who have promised to make education for all a legacy of the first World Cup in Africa. Labour have promised to increase spending in this area to ensure 8 million children in Africa have access to schooling.
Though it is easy to lose faith in sumits after Copenhaugen, the UN Poverty Summit will take place in September. Labour is comitted to agreeing an action plan with spesific national commitments which will set out the way to achieve the Millenium Development Goals. Please pray for the leaders as they begin to think about this sumit, and look out for actions and campaigns nearer the time to encourage leaders to a substantive agreement.
Labour has also launched the Global Poverty Promise Campaign. It is an online petition gauging support for greater spending on international aid. You can sign their pledge, urging the government to enshrine in law the 0.7% promise, to ensure education for children and saftey for pregnant women, and to take action to tackle climate change and help those adversely affected. Alternatively you can write your own pledge to send to the government. Please visit http://www.globalpovertypromise.com/home
to find out more and to sign the pledge.
Christians are called to care about the poor, in Isaiah it says ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?’ Acting on global poverty is part of our worship, to live a lifestyle showing concern for the poor is indeed a requirement according to this passage. Labour is taking steps to do this and facilitate you to act. So, get online and sign the pledge, pray for the new initiatives to raise money and for the leaders as they seek to spend more on international development and ending global poverty. Also have a look at the other news articles on our website to get informed about what’s going on in our world and take action on the many other issues affecting global poverty.
(Author: Esther Barlow
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