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International Aid News

Monday, June 14, 2010

Every few months my website will carry news items concerned with International Aid compiled by my staff. I hope you find the items useful and interesting.


Looking back

The Department for International Development (DFID) was set up in 1997; its top priority is fighting world poverty. Every year since then DFID has helped an estimated 3 million people out of poverty. Britain’s aid budget has trebled, one result of which has been millions more children go to school, and mothers can access healthcare.


Over the last decade the UK has been making a huge investment in fighting HIV and AIDS, making us the world’s second largest donor in the global fight against these diseases.


In 2005 the UK government led an international campaign to cancel 100% of multilateral debt for the poorest countries, and secured agreements on an extra billion of aid for all developing countries. In 2009 at the G20 London summit, the UK led efforts to agree billions to support the world’s poorest countries through the economic downturn.


DFID has been ranked as a clear leader on aid effectiveness. The UK has become the world’s second largest bilateral humanitarian donor, with funds helping people from Haiti to Sri Lanka.


Earthquake in Haiti

On 12th January an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck the island of Haiti, 10 miles south-west of the capital Port-au-Prince. It is believed that over 200,000 people died as a consequence.


The Department for International Development (DFID) is currently helping more than 350,000 people with water, shelter, food, medical care and other essential supplies. 90 million of the funds used are from public donations from the British public.


DFID is working with international agencies to help get relief where it is needed. This includes 2million for the World Food Programme for transport, communications and base camps to help with logistics. Also there is 300,000 for the World Health Organisation for disease surveillance, to help prevent the spread of epidemics such as malaria and dengue fever.


The UK has pledged to help rebuild Haiti’s Government, such as the Justice, Interior and Finance Ministries, re-establishing law and order and improving the country’s infrastructure.


Sri Lanka- A year on from conflict

It was this time last year that we saw an end to one of the world’s longest running civil wars as the Tamil Tigers were defeated by the Sri Lankan government forces. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were caught in the cross fire and were forced to leave their homes. Many of these people had to move repeatedly as the battle lines changed, many were killed and thousands injured in the final stages of the conflict.


13.5 million of humanitarian assistance has been provided by DFID since September 2008 to support the ongoing efforts of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other humanitarian agencies. UK support has helped the International Office of Migration (IOM) provide safe and dignified transportation for 41,000 civilians from camps back to their homes or to live with host families.


DFID has been supporting two British NGOs - the Halo Trust and the Mines Advisory Group to undertake mine surveillance and clearance activities to make areas safe for those displaced families returning home. In the first two months, the Halo Trust has helped make 16,000 mines safe. As well as this DFID has been helping the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) provide rice paddy seeds to 8,800 returning internally displaced people to help them become self sufficient in food production.


Looking forward

The new coalition government has recently produced its document, ‘The Coalition: our programme for government’ which contains a section outlining their plans on international development. The new government has pledged that the UK will continue to support and assist the poorest people in the world, and honour our aid commitments. They will honour the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013, and enshrine this commitment in law.


The document also advised that the aid budget will be used to support the development of local democratic institutions, civil society groups, the media and enterprise; and support efforts to tackle corruption. There will also be a review into what action will be taken against ‘vulture funds.’


Since being in power the new government has pledged to provide life saving contraception in Uganda and has announced that aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan will get a higher priority.


June 2010

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