Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Keeping promises

With Blog Action Day coming up on 15th October with this year's focus on poverty (I mentioned it here) here's a small reminder from Avaaz that we don't have to accept there's nothing we can do to make a difference.

Dear friends,

Canada, France and Italy are threatening to break their poverty promises by slashing aid budgets. Sign the petition to stop them -- and poverty expert Jeff Sachs will deliver our messages to world leaders gathered at the UN this week!

Click to Sign Now!
World leaders gather this Thursday at the United Nations to renew the fight against extreme poverty. But three countries -- France, Canada, and Italy -- are threatening to undermine the world's anti poverty efforts, by slashing their development aid budgets and breaking their international promises.

Sarkozy, Harper, and Berlusconi promised to contribute 0.7% of their national income to fighting poverty -- aid money that would save millions of lives, and still leave these donor countries with 99.3% of their money. But apparently, they think 99.3% is not enough.

Our best chance to keep these rich countries to their word on aid delivery is to raise the alarm in New York this week. Sign our petition now, spread it to friends and family -- and our friend, world famous economist and top UN official on poverty, Jeffrey Sachs will deliver it in speeches to the assembled heads of state at the UN summit this Thursday. The more names on the petition, the stronger the message that promises on poverty must be kept.


Sharon J said...

Signed. Thanks for posting this :)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Yep, got this and have signed up for Blog Action Day - blogged about it last week sometime!
Good on you, Debs!

Anonymous said...

I can't find any mention of these threatened cuts anywhere, can you reference the news story? I never sign anything without knowing the full story.

Debi said...

Fact sheet on Official Development Assistance from rich countries:

More on the Millennium Development Goals:

Bono and Jeffrey Sachs' blog on the poverty debate this week in New York:

To learn more about the international campaigning that has moved governments in recent years, see: and and

More on concern about France's meeting 0.7% targets see:,,en_2649_201185_40948205_1_1_1_1,00

More on Canada's backtracking on 0.7% commitment:

To see the 2008 report on governmental aid to Africa see:

To learn about Jeffrey Sachs' work on UN Millennium Development Goals see:

To see examples of how aid is working see: and

Sorry - don't have time to embed these links, so you'll need to cut and paste the URLs for further info

Anonymous said...

While not against overseas aid, isn't it true that a vast proportion of government aid budgets go straight back into the pockets of rich western consultancies? I would rather my tax money went directly to those agencies best suited to spend it wisely. Maybe it's actually time to review the whole government aid thing?

Debi said...

Good point, Anonymous. The whole idea of Blog Action Day is to have these sorts of debates, so thanks for contributing.

My personal angle is that we need to review a whole lot more than just 'the government aid thing'. We need to make radical changes in just about every area of the way we live in this here world.

If we don't make a start soon the agenda will be dictated to us by the inevitable crises around the corner.

Minx said...

I can hear whisperings about it all over the place - lets make a bit more noise!

Debi said...

Whispering won't do it, Minxy. We need big bass drum noise. Ready?