Stamp Out Poverty Campaign : Update - March 2008

At the end of 2007, Stamp Out Poverty launched its new campaign film Can Pay, Should Pay with a reception at Westminster. Since then we have received a lot of positive feedback from colleagues, friends and supporters who have watched and enjoyed the film.

If you have not seen it yet, please do watch it now .

In the meantime, read on for news of why 2008 marks a crucial year for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

MDG News

2008 is the most important year for issues of development assistance since 2005 – when the Make Poverty History campaign focussed attention on Aid, Trade and Debt. The situation is urgent – at the half-way point to the target year of 2015 for realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), many countries are way off track, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Sadly, development has slipped down the political agenda this year, and it is up to all of us to ensure that the poorest sections of our global community get the attention they deserve.

Coincidentally 2008 also marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it is now more timely than ever that we all make an increased effort to ensure that these human rights truly are universal.

The Prime Minster’s signal in 2007 for a renewed effort around development this year is now framed as the MDG Call to Action, launched with the UN Secretary General last year. Gordon Brown called for a one-day meeting hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in autumn to focus on accelerating action on the MDGs. The UK government is preparing for a conference involving the private sector in May as part of this initiative. EU meetings throughtout the year and the G8 in July in Japan are also seen as key moments. As an indication of the UN’s commitment to financing the MDGs and its embracing of the idea of innovative finance, Ban Ki-moon has recently appointed former french foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy as UN Special Advisor on Innovative Financing for Development. Stamp Out Poverty has recently met with Mr Douste-Blazy and will continue to engage with the UN on this welcome appointment.

Green News

Political leaders met in Bali in December for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and hammered out a deal which launches formal negotiations on a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol. The NGO community is alert to the tensions emerging regarding financing the costs of climate change adapation and the pressures it will place on existing development budgets. The 0.7% target for overseas aid is still not providing enough money to meet the poverty targets agreed to in 2000 and will clearly therefore not be enough to cover the enormous costs of mitigating the effects of climate change as well. New climate change funds must be found that are additional to those needed to meet the MDGs and the Stamp Out Poverty team is working to ensure this happens.

Bank news

Record profits have once again been announced by the UK’s leading banks. Despite the highly publicised credit crunch in the finance sector, HSBC for example, reported profits of $19.1 billion, an increase of 21% since last year. When will the government realise that this enormous wealth needs to be properly taxed? Levying a 0.005% tax on the trade in sterling alone would raise nearly $5billion of additional funds for development every year.

Taking Action

Has it been a while since you took a quick, simple and effective action? If so, fear not, a new on-line tool is available which makes it so easy for you to contact your MP, you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it before! Go to Voice Your Views and scroll down for the stamp out poverty campaign, then follow the instructions – it will take you 5 minutes.

Plus, watch this space for a mass-action event coming up after Easter!