Fact & Action Sheet November 2004 Letting our parliamentarians know about the Fair Share Campaign In September the Australian Council for International Development and thirty of its member agencies including RESULTS, World Vision, Oxfam Australia, Caritas and many others 1 launched the Fair Share Campaign to convince the Australian government to do its fair share towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs were agreed by all members of the UN in 2000 and consist of the following 8 goals for 2015: 1. To reduce poverty by half 2. To provide universal primary education 3. To ensure women equal rights and opportunities 4. To reduce infant mortality by two-thirds 5. To reduce maternal mortality by three quarters 6. To halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases 7. To ensure environmental sustainability; and 8. To establish a global partnership for development. The MDGs have become the central framework for development throughout the world and are being actively supported by the agencies of the UN, the World Bank, most developed nations and most developing countries. While not enough is yet being done to achieve the MDGs (especially in Africa) there has been a great deal of genuine work carried out across the world and the pace of this action is increasing. To give some examples: 19 out of the 22 OECD2 donor countries have committed to increase their aid or to maintain aid at 0.7% of GNI or above – Australia, Japan and New Zealand have not. 5 donor countries have indicated they will reach 0.7% by certain dates (Ireland 2007, Belgium 2010, Spain 2012, France 2012, the UK 2013). This will mean that 10 of the 22 OECD donor nations will be giving 0.7% of more. Over 80 developing nations have completed at least one MDG report detailing their progress towards achieving the MDGs and many of these countries have also integrated the MDGs into their national anti-poverty plans. A number of developed nations have reframed their aid programs around the MDGs and are evaluating their programs in terms of the goals. Countries such as The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK have begun to pool their aid in order to more effectively support the poverty reduction plans of countries such as Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique. In the past donor nations were more focussed on running their own independent programs which maximised publicity and economic benefits for the donors but were not the best way to help poor countries. 1 see Appendix for other groups involved in the campaign 2 The OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – is an intergovernmental organization of the developed nations established in 1961. Its goals are to help "member countries promote economic growth, employment and improved standards of living through the coordination of policy" and to encourage "the sound and harmonious development of the world economy and improve the lot of developing countries, particularly the poorest." The G8 has prioritised further debt reduction and the UK has recently announced that it will cover its share of poor countries' debt (about 10% of the total). Major international programs to reduce HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and childhood diseases have been set up and are starting to have success and too much more to mention here! ODA as a percentage of OECD member GNI 2003 Norway Denmark Netherlands Luxembourg Sweden Belgium Ireland France Australia at 0.25% of GNI now ranks 14th Switzerland out of 22 OECD donor countries (down United Kingdom from 12th in 2000) and gives only about one third of the internationally agreed Finland target to aid. Germany Canada Spain Australia New Zealand Portugal Greece Japan Austria 0.5% level needed UN target 0.7% Italy for MDGs United States 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 Source: Development Assistance Committee - OECD % of GNI In other words, in most places around the world the Millennium Development Goals have really struck a chord with people and have been seen as the best opportunity yet to work together to significantly reduce poverty. However the Australian government is yet to embrace this opportunity, and as a result, is yet to make any practical commitment towards achieving the MDGs. In brief, for Australia to do its fair share requires that we: significantly increase aid towards the internationally-agreed target of 0.7% of our national wealth and to at least achieve 0.5% of GNI in the near future3; focus our aid on basic rights such as education, health, clean water and sanitation for the poorest people and co-ordinate our aid better with other donors; cancel the debts owed to us by poor countries who can’t adequately support their own people while they have to repay wealthier creditors; work for fairer trade to help the poor trade their way out of poverty; and actively participate in international initiatives to increase global finances for aid and development. Australia has consistently advocated improved agricultural trade access for the poorest countries over the last 20 years, and has supported the Highly Indebted Poor Countries 3 The UN Millennium Project estimates that aid will need to reach at least 0.5% of GNI globally if the MDGs are to be achieved. (HIPC) debt initiative to a degree. However it could do more in both of these areas and needs to do much more in the aid area. While AusAID often does very good work with partner countries the low level of aid (only 0.26% of GNI) means that it can only provide significant support to the small Pacific nations and Timor-Leste. The aid budget will need to double for us to be doing our fair share and for Australia to provide significant support to the poor in other countries. Table 1 Australia's aid support by region proportion proportion of % of Australian aid Australian aid of very poor country per capita from per very poor developing population (ie allocated country person from world income < aid allocated country population US$1 per budget budget in A$ allocated day) budget in A$ The Pacific 0.1% 0.3% 53.4% $110 $300 Sth East Asia 10.1% 4.7% 29.4% 86 cents $8.77 West Asia 2.3% 0.6% 2.2% 29 cents $5.57 Sub Saharan Africa 13.8% 27.9% 4.4% 10 cents 22 cents South Asia 28.0% 40.3% 6.9% 7 cents 24 cents East Asia 25.2% 19.5% 3.7% 4 cents 26 cents CIS 8.0% 1.5% 0% - - Latin America & the Caribbean 9.9% 5.1% 0% - - North Asia 2.6% 0.2% 0% Source: Australia's International Development Co-operation 2004-05, World Bank Povcalnet, World Bank WDI In addition the Australian aid program needs to coordinate better with other donors and developing countries around the MDG goals and to evaluate its performance in terms of achieving the MDGs. At present AusAID's focus and monitoring processes are designed as if the MDGs didn't exist. It is now four years since Australia committed to supporting the MDGs and we need the Australian government to turn its statements of support into practical action. In September 2005 the nations of the world will be meeting at the UN to review the MDG progress to date and to commit to the extra effort needed to achieve the MDGs by 2015. Most of the advocacy goals of RESULTS are directly related to the MDGs (eg microcredit – Goal 1, basic education – Goals 2 & 3, diseases of poverty – Goals 4, 5 and 6, water and sanitation – Goal 7). RESULTS will be returning to each of these areas and to the MDGs in the coming year. As part of the Fair Share campaign RESULTS will be working alongside people from many other groups and will have the support of millions of people and thousands of development agencies throughout the world. All we are asking is for Australia to meet the commitments it has already made and to carry its fair share of the burden. The cost is so little and the benefits to all countries of achieving the MDGs would be so great. It is likely that the Government will only give a higher priority to incorporating the MDGs into policies if parliamentarians from all parties speak out in support of the Fair Share campaign. Action: Write a letter to your Federal MP or Senator in your State to let them know about the Fair Share Campaign and to ask to meet with them to seek their support for the campaign. Parliamentarians can support the campaign by: writing to their party leaders seeking commitment to the MDGs agreeing to speak in favour of the MDGs in parliament and their party room joining the Fair Share email network for MPs and advisers on current developments and opportunities to be involved agreeing to speak in favour of increased overseas aid in budget deliberations being willing to be interviewed by the press about the MDGs writing letters and articles to newspapers in favour of Australia doing its Fair Share towards the MDGs writing about the MDGs in their newsletters to their constituents. Resources: The Fair Share website http://www.acfid.asn.au/fairshare.htm contains much more information on the campaign and the UN Millennium Campaign website www.millenniumcampaign.org is a great source of information on the MDGs and what is happening globally to achieve them. For tips on how to visit your MP see: www.results.org.au/information/mps_visit.doc Appendix: Members of the Fair Share Campaign – with more to come! Anglican Board of Mission Anglicord Archbishop of Sydney's Overseas Relief and Aid Fund Australian Baptist World Aid Australian Business Volunteers AUSTCARE: Australians Caring for Refugees Australian Council for International Development Australian Relief and Mercy Services Australian Reproductive Health Alliance Australian Volunteers International Caritas Australia CCF Australia Christian Blind Mission International Foundation for Development Cooperation Fred Hollows Foundation The Friends of the Earth Australia International Needs Australia Marist Mission Centre Oxfam Community Aid Abroad PALMS Australia Plan International Australia Quaker Service Australia RESULTS Australia Save the Children Australia Sexual Health & Family Planning Australia TEAR Australia Union Aid Abroad—APHEDA United Nations Association of Australia Uniting Church Overseas Aid World Vision Australia Fair Share is also working closely with Micah Challenge Australia which is promoting the MDGs among the Christian community.