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sustainability decreases poverty
Sustainable development has long been a focus of aid efforts. However, sustainable development requires a vital component to its success and that is the elimination of poverty. The United Nations Sustainable Development action plan, Agenda 21, placed great importance on the “multidimensional” nature of poverty while bringing global attention to the concept of sustainability. To this day, poverty relief efforts have utilized sustainability strategies to aid and more importantly empower communities.

In 1997, the General Assembly of the United Nations “decided that poverty eradication should be an overriding theme of sustainable development for the coming years.” Following the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, The C.S.S. or Commission on Sustainable Development has made poverty eradication an important objective on their agenda every year since. Moreover, every year since, society has progressed, developing more efficient and sustainable methods for addressing hunger and other poverty related issues.

Approximately 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty. 900 million of that population are chronically undernourished and one billion suffer due to lack of proper vitamins and minerals. But how does this effect sustainable development?

Writer Mark Tran of the Gaurdian writes “undernourishment in children prevents them from ever reaching their full physical and cognitive potential, costing lives, livelihoods and economic growth.” Furthermore, Tran goes on to explain that sustainable development efforts will be pointless if we are not able to address hunger and protect the resources we depend upon for survival. A 2013 report entitled A New Global Partnership by the United Nations High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons shares a similar viewpoint. Two of the report’s five areas of transformation include putting “sustainable development at the core” and a “rapid shift to sustainable patterns of consumption and production.”

In regard to the post-2015 development agenda the report explains that “without ending poverty, we cannot build prosperity” and “without environmental sustainability, we cannot end poverty.” The report also emphasized that the world must go beyond the established Millennium Development Goals if it wishes to aid the very poorest and most excluded groups of people.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said in regard to this report that “we need a new global partnership to finish the job on the current MDGs, tackle the underlying causes of poverty and champion sustainable development.”

The issues of poverty and sustainability are strongly connected. We cannot create successful sustainable developments without addressing both issues. It is an inverse relationship that is vital to the success of eradicating poverty. As we decrease poverty we must also increase sustainability, so that communities can continue to grow on their own after the aid is gone.

– Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: United Nations, IFAD, The Guardian, Brookings Institute

roosevelt Quotes from World Leaders on Human Rights
1. David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
“If we are going to try to get across to the poorest people in the world that we care about their plight and we want them to join one world with the rest of us, we have got to make promises and keep promises.”

2. Irene Khan, former Secretary-General of Amnesty International
“Poverty is not only about income poverty, it is about the deprivation of economic and social rights, insecurity, discrimination, exclusion and powerlessness. That is why human rights must not be ignored but given even greater prominence in times of economic crisis.”

3. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

“Discrimination and multiple deprivations of human rights are also frequently part of the problem, sentencing entire populations to poverty… It is surely a matter of outrage that over half a million women die annually from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. This is nearly half the annual global death toll, and arguably, a direct reflection of the disempowerment of women in social, economic and political life.”

4. Jesse Jackson, American Statesman and Civil Rights Activist
“The great responsibility that we have today is to put the poor and the near poor back on front of the American agenda.”

5. Pope Francis “A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”

6. Dalai Lama XIV “No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. We have the same basic human needs and concerns. All of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals and as peoples. That is human nature.”

7. Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Human Rights Activist
“I don’t know why people have divided the whole world into two groups, west and east. Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it’s the right of every human being.”

8. Pranab Mukherjee, President of India 
“There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger.”

9. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.”

10. Barack Obama, President of the United States
“This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many.”

11. Desmond Tutu, Noble Peace Prize Laureate
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

12. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
“History proves that all dictatorships, all authoritarian forms of government are transient. Only democratic systems are not transient. Whatever the shortcomings, mankind has not devised anything superior.”

13. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President
“The world is in need of an encompassing and of course, just and humane order in the light of which the rights of all are preserved and peace and security are safeguarded.”

14. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Cuban Foreign Minister
“This problem will knock on the doors of all of us, whether through uncontrolled and unmanageable migration flows, by means of diseases and epidemics, as a result of the conflicts generated by poverty and hunger, or as a result of events which are today unforeseeable.”

15. Warren Buffett, American Investor and Philanthropist
“Someone is sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Tyson Watkins

Sources: Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights: Quotes, Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights: Statement by Navenethem Pillay, Catholics Confront Global Poverty, Dalai Lama, Think Exist, Brainy Quote

Photo: Vintage 3D

border_immigrants_terror

For some who remain in poverty, the opportunity to enter more developed nations like the United Kingdom could positively impact the lives of their families for generations. Recently, however, the government of the United Kingdom has announced that they will soon begin to raise visa fees for those from high risk countries. Citizens of India, Ghana, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka will have to pay a £3,000 cash bond ($4,625 USD), almost double people renewing a visa from within the U.K. pay.

In 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron initiated a per capita cash bond system across the board for immigrants applying for visas for additional members of their families. The reasoning behind the change was to ensure that income levels of sponsors were high enough, which was supposed to mean fewer people applying for residency in the U.K. become a burden to taxpayers later. Ideally, the bonds are also intended to deter overstaying and recover funds if the immigrants use public services.

An unnamed government official has said that the countries were chosen based on their “risk of abuse” of the immigration system. For instance, a recent report from the Daily Mail revealed that U.K. colleges and universities had reported 106,698 warnings to United Kingdom Border Agency for the 2011-2012 school year alone. Such abuses of the system included losing their sponsorship from the host school or dropping out altogether, both of which may be grounds for deportation on a student visa. However, barely one in 1,000 reported cases results in deportation, allowing over 100,000 people to remain in the country under false pretenses. Nevertheless, Cameron’s overall goal is to have the United Kingdom’s net annual migration down to 100,000 people by 2015.

Despite the abuses, the fact remains that such a change would adversely affect those from poor backgrounds. Such a high price for entering the UK will bar many from doing so, regardless of whether or not they are highly skilled or educated.

– Samantha Mauney
Source: The Sun, The Daily Mail, UKBA, NDTV
Photo: The Asians

billgates
Over the weekend, a rally in London attended by thousands sought to raise awareness around the issue of global hunger and encourage leaders, before the G8 summit later this month, to make ending hunger a top priority. The rally was in London’s famous Hyde Park. It was hosted by the “Enough Food for Everyone – IF” campaign and boasted the likes of Bill Gates and “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle.

Prime Minister David Cameron hosted talks on malnutrition and led the discussion around the fight against global hunger. Boyle believes we can end hunger and that is necessary to do so.  Boyle hopes in a day when no countries which participate in the Olympics will have children dying of hunger. It’s a high goal, but a realistic one according to supporters at the rally.

The G8 summit is set to be held in Northern Ireland on June 17-18 and the rally hoped to put malnutrition on the radar of governments, NGOs, businesses, and nonprofits attending the summit. Cameron discussed the topic with Vice President of Brazil Michel Temer and received a pledge of $4.15 billion by 2020 and a renewed commitment to fight against hunger and malnutrition.  Also in attendance were representatives from 19 African countries, numerous donor countries such at the US and Japan, the EU, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, and UNICEF.

A rally bringing together some of the global leaders in the fight against poverty and hunger is sure to make waves and spread awareness, which is what the Prime Minister hoped to do. Leaders are encouraging those at the G8 summit to focus priorities on hunger and malnutrition. Such action is another important step in the creation of the next generation of development goals.

–  Amanda Kloeppel

Source: The News
Photo: The Guardian

British Panel Plans to End Global Poverty by 2030

Last Wednesday, British prime minister David Cameron announced a few recommendations for ending global poverty by 2030. Improving life for the more than one billion people that live on less than $1.25 a day would include provision of drinking water, electricity, health care, and schools.

Cameron reported that ending global poverty “can and should be one of the great achievements of our time. It is doable”. As a co-chair of the high-level panel that will recommend the best ways to combat global poverty, the British prime minister hopes to improve the U. N. Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015. These goals included ensuring accessibility to elementary school education, stopping HIV/AIDS, increasing access to clean water and sanitation, as well as reduction of maternal and child mortality through healthcare.

These goals, however, Cameron says, didn’t place enough emphasis on the effects of conflict and violence. Building strong institutions and enforcing the law were overlooked in the Millennium Development Goals, and the panel hopes to remedy this by promoting “good governance and private enterprise, investment, and entrepreneurship.” The main focus of ending global poverty is economic growth in the private sector.

Cameron also highlights corruption and how tackling it as well as holding governments accountable is “the golden thread of development.” These reforms in conjunction with those such as food and water provisions, healthcare, and education accessibility could allow a swift eradication of global poverty by the year 2030.

Sarah Rybak

Photo: Guardian

DavidCameron
Last Thursday, Prime Minister David Cameron received plenty of calls from voters who demanded cuts to foreign aid. They believe that foreign aid cuts will allow for savings thereby boosting the British economy. Despite Cameron’s attempts at protecting foreign aid and asserting that maintaining such aid is in the UK’s national security interest and it’s the morally right thing to do, people still think that foreign aid is a waste and it is their number one priority for cuts.

Philip Davies, a conservative member of parliament, suggests that ““The policy of borrowing more and more money we don’t have to hand to dictators in other countries is morally bankrupt and politically insane.” The main support for these foreign aid cuts has come from Tory party supporters and Independence party supporters. There has also been plenty of dissatisfaction among Conservative party supporters toward Chancellor George Osborne because of his failed policies, or his failure to fulfill what he claims to through his proposed policies to revive the British economy through tax cuts.

The main issue at hand concerns David Cameron’s actions against the public’s desires and his shift away from popular demands. The prime minister wants to meet the goal of giving 0.7% of gross national income to poor countries. The mentioned goal has been introduced by the UN in 1970 and since then, only 5 countries have met it: Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Luxembourg. This year, the UK’s prime minister wants to meet this goal too. Is the public failing to recognize and understand that the percentage given as foreign aid is in fact much less than they assume it to be? That may explain the public’s pressure on David Cameron to cut foreign aid and their firm opposition to foreign aid.

Leen Abdallah
Sources: Express, Guardian

Accountability Promised on Aid PledgesAt the African Union Summit, British Prime Minister and Chairman of the G8, David Cameron re-asserted his conviction today to end extreme poverty. Patrick Wintour of The Guardian notes Cameron’s emphasis on “responsible capitalism” and accountability, the latter to which Cameron cited there will be “an accountability report when the G8 meets in Northern Ireland in June”.

Accountability seems to be a buzzword in recent politics as the pressure mounts for the United Nations to succeed in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, set to expire in 2015. The time is coming for individual nations to own up to the promises they had made to succeed in these goals in 2010.

The Guardian reports that Cameron promises to pressure western countries that have been less proactive on their aid pledges. The news source contends, “Britain has maintained its pledge to ringfence 0.7% of its gross domestic product for aid, something which has been fiercely opposed by some in Cameron’s party.”

This percentage yields a large impact and is a higher percentage of the gross domestic product than what the United States has contributed, which was reported to only contribute 0.19% of its gross domestic product in 2010. Although the size of the American economy is much bigger than that of most nations, the country may be held accountable for its false promises. In the past few years, the allocation of funding for foreign aid in the U.S. Budget has decreased because politicians seek to assuage the repercussions of the 2008 financial crisis.

– Nina Narang

Sources: The Guardian, The Huffington Post
Photo: The Muslim Weekly

UK Labour’s Plan for International DevelopmentBritish Shadow Secretary for International Development Ivan Lewis presented Labour’s plan for development scheme after 2015 when the general election in the UK will be held. The UN Millennium Development Goals are also due for reassessment in 2015. Lewis proposed that the new framework will be based on equal partnership, claiming, “Gone are the days when G8 governments could impose their views on the rest of the world.”

Lewis acknowledged that many of the Millennium Development Goals will not be met by 2015 but cited its significant impact on raising global awareness. Labour’s “One Nation: One World” goal will focus on promoting social justice and dealing with inequality through stimulating economic growth that is sustainable. As Lewis wrote, “Ending aid dependency is the right objective for the dignity, independence and self-determination of nations and their citizens.” Lewis recognized that global issues impact the security of Britain and that globalization in this interconnected world is “a reality, not a choice, both in Europe and the wider world.”

Lewis went on to cite Labour’s accomplishments in establishing the Department for International Development on the cabinet-level, as well as committing to spending 0.7% of the gross national income on aid. Labour leader Ed Miliband is dedicated to building on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s legacy for working towards a “fairer and sustainable” world. He also faulted Prime Minister David Cameron, who is now a co-chair of the UN high-level panel on development, for having “an ideological reluctance to focus on inequality.”

Lewis ended with an optimistic aspiration, “Our generation can and should be the generation which ends absolute poverty, reduces inequality and safeguards the planet.”

– Pimrapee Thungkasemvathana

Source: Guardian
Photo: Guardian