Monthly Archives: September 2010

Night falls at the UN

Superbadger is sitting in a café opposite the UN. It’s getting dark, Obama’s motorcade roared past when he left the UN building an hour ago and things are wrapping up at the MDG Summit.

So, after three days we saw lots of positive words but little concrete commitment. A strategy from the UN Secretary-General to get the child and maternal health targets back on track is welcome. However, we needed to see a roadmap like this for the whole MDGs, not just some. As ever, Superbadger will bank what we got and keep on badgering for the many things that we didn’t.

Let’s keep holding world leaders to account for what they promised here and keep pushing for more.

The race for the MDGs is still on: 10 years down, 5 to go.

It’s totally doable, let’s keep the pressure up. Bring it on!

Superbadger Meets Obama

NOT 😦

So they didn’t let me in!!! Why would they not want Superbadger in the room alongside President Obama? What could possibly have gone wrong???

Well – the highlight of the day (so I hear) was the launch of a new plan for improving child and maternal health. Developing and developed countries came together with business-people and generous rich people (philanthropists) to try and save lives. Apparently they aim to save 16 million lives by 2015 and so if they can do that it would be pretty impressive and something to celebrate. The plan is called ‘Every Woman, Every Child’, 35 countries are involved and around $40bn has been pledged over the next 5 years. Superbadger has been trying to work out whether this is all new and additional money but it’s getting late and I’m still not quite sure! Some countries that are decreasing their aid budgets have pledged money to the plan and Superbadger is a bit suspicious – but there are other countries like the UK that are increasing money for development, so the extra for child and maternal health makes a bit more sense. The UK are going to explain how exactly they’re going to spend the money once this big review is over – I’m hoping that some of it will go to water and sanitation, and to HIV, as these are two areas that have a massive impact on the health of mothers and children.

Another good thing is that quite a few African countries have pledged to spend at least 15% of their budgets on health. This was agreed some years ago but only a few countries have met the target – more domestic resources for health can only be a good thing so Superbadger is pretty pleased.

If only we had similar proposals on the other MDGs….

Badgering Against Corruption

WOW – I have learnt a lot today! When I wasn’t hanging out with Craig David in the bloggers’ lounge, I was taking part in some side events that were attended by NGOs, Ministers and other UN types.

This afternoon, I went to hear about the impact that corruption is having on development and continue to realise that this is a MASSIVE issue that needs a lot of badgering.

Africa loses around $148 billion from corruption every year, money that could be invested in basic necessities like water, sanitation and taking care of pregnant women. One of the speakers estimated that for every $1 that developing countries receive in aid, they lose $10 through ‘illicit financial flows’. Sounds complicated but it basically means that AID money is being shifted around the world through corruption and tax evasion. This doesn’t seem right – not when 4000 children under 5 die every day from preventable causes like diarrhoea.

The speakers all agreed that tackling corruption should supplement aid and shouldn’t replace it. Well-spent aid can get more children into school, can support those living with HIV and can improve water and sanitation facilities – it can make a real difference. But it goes hand in hand with tackling corruption and making sure that Governments around the world are accountable to their citizens – people like you and me – for how they spend public money. By publishing more information and being more transparent about how money is spent, both Governments and mult-national corporations can play a part in tackling corruption – and save lives as a result!

One of my friends Jean-Valery from Micah Challenge Haiti was speaking about this just the other night. He reckons that tackling corruption and good governance is the NUMBER ONE priority for Haiti, and that without good governance, Haiti which is currently the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, won’t be able to meet the MDGs.

A lot to think about!

Tearfund Phlog Post:MDG Mid-Summit update from Paul Cook

Tearfund Advocacy Director, Paul Cook, has recorded an update from New York updating us on progress at the MDG summit.

Listen here:

Please pray that World Leaders will really take this opportunity and make the most of the next 24 hours and pray for us as we countiue to lobby and talk to the media and pray for a good outcome for the poorest people in the world from this summit in New York.  Thank you.”Please pray that World Leaders will really take this opportunity and make the most of the next 24 hours and pray for us as we countiue to lobby and talk to the media and pray for a good outcome for the poorest people in the world from this summit in New York.  Thank you.”

Summit Latest

Superbadger is beginning day two of the MDG Summit here in New York, somewhat bleary eyed after not enough sleep. Hopefully world leaders were burning the midnight oil as well last night working hard to improve the summit outcomes that are currently on the table.

Instead of a serious road map to deliver the MDGs over the next 5 years, the Outcome document is pretty weak, a cut and paste job of well meaning platitudes from previous summits. But all is not lost. Formal documents always get watered down through the process of getting 190+ different nations on the same page. The real action ought to take place through world leaders’ speeches and fringe events over the next 24 hours. Here leaders can go further and set out what their countries will do to deliver MDGs over the next 5 years. Keep praying for progress and Superbadger will keep lobbying (and drinking the coffee).

Spare No Effort for the MDGs

Rose early this morning as I didn’t want to miss out on any of the action here in New York!

The main event kicked off this morning with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moonreminding leaders of the promises that have been made to the world’s poorest. In 2000, when the 8 goals for tackling poverty (the MDGs) were agreed, Prime Ministers and Presidents said that they would “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty”. A BIG promise which requires a BIG response. With some way to go to achieve the MDGs, our politicians need to do everything they possibly could to increase access to things like water, sanitation, health and education. Ten years on we still have a long way to go…

But it’s not just politicians that can make a difference. I’ve been in a meeting today to talk about what churches and other faith-based organisations can do to transform communities and tackle poverty. There were fellow-badgers there from Sierra Leone, Uganda, Haiti, South Korea – and yours truly representing the UK! I heard that in some developing countries, churches are providing the majority of health services and was wondering why we never hear about this if this is the case!!!

One of the buzz words for today was ACCOUNTABILITY – another big word and everyone seemed to agree it was important. Churches don’t just run schools and hospitals but they can also make sure that Governments stick to their promises on the MDGs. Through campaigning and advocacy, churches around the world can call for the poorest to be prioritised and for money to be spent wisely. By joining together with our brother and sister-badgers, we can have a bigger impact on poverty!

The world we want to see

New York is getting ready! I’ve been at a rally this afternoon, hanging out with lots of passionate people who want to see the world change – for ever.

Tearfund and lots of other agencies who work with the world’s poorest people are all in town, ready to make a noise about justice and call world leaders to account on achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

We want to see massive progress towards tackling poverty and injustice by 2015.

We want to see children able to live past their fifth birthday because they have clean water and a safe place to go to the toilet.

We want to see people with HIV, malaria and TB easily able to get the healthcare they need.

We want to see governments recognise that climate change is a major and urgent problem that is affecting poor countries right now. Those countries have done the least to cause it – it’s not them that are emitting carbon by the way they live. It’s us, and it’s our responsibility to help the world adapt to hugely changing climates and the impact it has on farming and on natural disasters.

We want to see the people who are most affected by poverty have the chance to take part in their own country’s development, by each country having its own plan to tackle poverty and an easy way for their own citizens to call them to account.

It’s warm here in New York, and I’m going to get a drink of water. When you have your next drink of water, thank God that you can easily get clean water that is safe to drink. 800 million people can’t.

Take action today by heading over to http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger and let the UK Government know what kind of world you want to see.