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ACT NOW on 2015

Issued on July 30, 2010 at 02:07 PM

Dochas - Act Now - Act Now on 2015
Act Now on 2015

Keep the 0,7% development aid target!

Congress and 64 other organizations have joined the campaign "Act now on 2015". The campaign, which follows up last year's "We Do Care" campaign, calls on the government to deliver on its promise to reach the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid by 2015.

Ireland international reputation is built on its long held commitment to the world's poor. Even in tough economic times, aid is affordable. 0.7% is not just a number - it is trained teachers and doctors; t is more schools and hospitals; it is people living their lives with hope and dignity. Our aid promise is something to be proud of. Ireland must act now to keep it.

If we "Act Now", we can save Ireland's overseas development programme, and our reputation as a country that keeps its promises, writes Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, in the this article here below which presents the campaign:

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The world has agreed on what needs to be done

Ten years ago, buoyed by the optimism and ambition of a new century, agreed to a set of goals - now known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015.

The Millennium Development Goals are a recipe to end global poverty, and an explicit agreement between rich and poor countries, with poor countries pledging to improve their performance, and wealthy countries pledging to provide the necessary resources. They are achievable, and can be met in every nation. Governments must simply make the achievement of the Goals a priority, invest the necessary resources and ensure accountability to their citizens.

Ireland has an obligation

Ireland signed up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, as an indication that we will not tolerate the extreme inequality in the world. We pledged to increase our overseas aid, so that we would reach the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid.

Unfortunately, the Government has twice shifted the date for achieving this international commitment, and now promises to reach the UN target by 2015 at the latest. Having broken two earlier promises, the credibility of this target is somewhat unclear, especially since the Government has failed to publish a plan on how it will keep our promise.

In September this year, world leaders will again meet at the United Nations, to review countries' MDG performances. Sadly, It now looks like the Taoiseach will go to New York, without tangible proof that Ireland will keep our promise to the world's poorest people.

Trade Unions' role

Trade unions will also be seeking a strong commitment by the world's governments to include Decent Work in any resolution emerging from the New York Summit. It is essential that the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all are explicit if the MDGs are to be achieved. This should encompass the elimination of child labour and forced labour, as well as freedom from discrimination and the fundamental right to be in a trade union and to bargain collectively with employers. While not explicit in the list of eight Goals, eliminating child labour is critical as the others and cuts across the themes of them all. As long as millions children are forced by poverty and others circumstances into situations of exploitative labour, then they will continue to swell the ranks of those out of school. You can sign the Global March Against Child Labour's petition in advance of the summit - click here

Time for us to Act

This year, 65 organisations - including the INTO and ICTU - have come together in a joint campaign to prevent this potential failure. The campaign, called "Act Now on 2015" has a simple goal: to ensure Ireland keeps its promise to the world's poorest people.

Ireland has often been praised for its overseas aid programme, and we have proof that our aid works. In more ways than one, Ireland's calling card to the world is our reputation as a country that will not tolerate injustice and human suffering.

But this reputation is at risk, as a result of the repeated and disproportionate cuts to Ireland's aid budget, and as a result of the Government's failure to provide a clear plan of action to deliver our latest aid promise. As a country, we must act now, to restore our reputation, and to do the right thing. As citizens, we must act now, and pressure our politicians to do the right thing.

There can rarely have been a better time to Act Now on 2015.

Hans Zomer

Director of Dochas

 

Read more on Act Now's website - click here