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International Aid Update

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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.  Please note, the initiatives and organisations in this update are not endorsed by Meg Munn MP.

Syria

10.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, of which 6.5 million are Internally Displaced Persons. In addition, 3.2 million Syrians are refugees in neighbouring countries.

700 million has been committed by the UK government to provide support in response to the conflict, of which:

        Syria - 329 million has been allocated to partners providing humanitarian assistance inside Syria delivered from Damascus and cross border, including 154 million allocated for delivering aid across Syria’s borders without the consent of the Syrian regime,

        Region - 311 million for Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, including 4.8 million for technical assistance.

For further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/363617/DFID_Syria_Humanitarian_Programme_Summary_2014.10.14.pdf

International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill

In September the House of Commons voted to support a Private Members’ Bill which would commit 0.7% of national income to foreign aid. This target, which was hit for the first time in April, means around 11 billion of public money a year is going towards international aid and development.

Meg Munn MP has previously spoken on the importance of international aid and said that we need not only to give more publicity to what is being done with the money, but be assured that it is being spent in the best possible way.

The last Labour government helped 3 million people out of poverty a year, and 40 million people into education, trebled aid and dropped the debt, and built international coalitions to secure agreements that were right for Britain and the world.

But aid needs to be effective and Meg believes we need to talk more, plan more and do more in seeking clear outcomes. She would prefer to see greater focus on investing in improved governance and believes that in the context of effective use of aid, good governance delivers better outcomes for people.

She did not support the Bill as she does not think that the target needs to be put in law. Instead when each Government proposes a Budget they need to make the case, which would ensure voters were reminded just why international aid is important. Support across the country would then be regularly generated.

The Bill now proceeds to committee stage where it will be scrutinised in greater detail.

For further information: http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN03714/the-07-aid-target

Ebola

The outbreak of the Ebola virus primarily affects 3 countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Around 9,000 cases and more than 4,500 deaths have been reported across these countries by the World Health Organisation, the largest known outbreak.

Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person or animal.

The government has committed a 125 million assistance package to help Sierra Leone tackle Ebola. This includes support for 700 treatment beds to help up to 8,800 patients over 6 months, as well as shoring up the country’s stretched public health services to help contain the disease.

For further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ebola-virus-government-response/about

South Sudan

The country is mired in conflict and the daily realities of life in the world’s newest nation are hard to comprehend. A million people are displaced with millions more in need of humanitarian relief. It is clear that serious abuses and violations of human rights continue to take place as the conflict drags on.

Reports of the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and the recruitment of children as combatants by both sides in the conflict are particularly concerning. UNICEF estimates that more than 9,000 children have now been recruited by both sides.

Seema Biswas, a field surgeon with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), shares her experiences of working in South Sudan. You can read about them at: http://blogs.redcross.org.uk/emergencies/2014/10/south-sudan-conflict-childhood/

Workers’ rights in Qatar

The TUC has launched the Playfair Qatar campaign to bring together British opposition to Qatar’s modern slavery. Football fans around the country are angry and appalled at what is being done in the name of their beloved sport, and through the networks of independent supporters’ groups and trade unions, Playfair Qatar aims to build a powerful voice to force government, business and sporting bodies here and internationally to talk about the only thing that really matters: saving workers lives and giving them back their rights.

For further information about the campaign visit: http://playfairqatar.org.uk/

Overseas Development Institute report on education access and quality

This report, published in July, raises concerns about the growing gap between education access and quality. It highlights 250 million more than one third of 650 million primary school age children who fail to make it to grade 4 and are unable to read, write or do basic mathematics.

It calls for a greater focus on measuring learning outcomes for all countries, making education quality more visible and providing information that is more accessible globally and by parents and students.

To view the report visit: http://www.odi.org/publications/8566-unbalanced-progress-political-dynamics-mean-education-access-quality


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