This week, IoM Friends of the Earth invites Kristina Crawford of the Point 1 Campaign to highlight the ways in which sustainable solutions can help ease extreme poverty and environmental degradation – and what we can do to play our part
Last year I attended a presentation about global poverty and aid by the Global Poverty Project – a charity dedicated to increasing the number and effectiveness of people involved in tackling extreme poverty.
They talked about how surprisingly effective we’ve been at tackling poverty, and we’re even making progress on sustainability.
Not many people know how successful aid has been.
We see negative stories about aid all the time, but did you know that since 1980 we’ve reduced the percentage of people living in extreme poverty from 52 per cent to 25 per cent?
Or that since 1990 the number of children under five years old who die each year has gone from 12 million to 6.9 million?
Since 1990 three million fewer hectares of forestry are lost each year, and four billion more people have access to safer drinking water.
When we focus on effectiveness, and don’t write off aid because of some bad examples, we can maximise the positive effect on extreme poverty and environmental degradation.
The Isle of Man has a commitment to support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which 198 nations are working to achieve in the hope of maximising the effectiveness of their programmes.
Our spending last year focused on Goal 7: ‘Ensure Environmental Sustainability’, which last year received 20 per cent of the overseas aid budget, alongside Goal 4: ‘Reduce Child Mortality’, and Goal 1: ‘Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger’ received 45 per cent.
Projects that go towards Goal 7 this year have included sustainable livelihoods from integrated livestock farming in Cameroon, increasing access to water through sand dams and rock catchments in Kenya, and sustainable livelihoods through small-scale agriculture in Bangladesh, which will all help address problems related to poverty and sustainability.
It’s significant that we, as an island, have sustainability as a key commitment, as it is so important for our own livelihoods and continued lives in the island.
Through all eight MDGs, our aid has benefited more than 4.3 million people since 2008.
For a small island that is a big impact, and one to be proud of – but we can do more.
Currently the island gives less than almost all other developed countries, including Jersey and Guernsey.
And even though it does good work, and is very efficient with what it does give, it is not having the impact it should for lack of funds.
We give only 0.07 per cent gross national income (GNI) to overseas aid, despite a commitment to give 10 times as much.
I’m passionate about what we can do to continue to push for the MDGs, and think we can and should do more.
I’ve helped establish the Point 1 campaign on the island, which is asking the Isle of Man Government to increase overseas aid spending to 0.1 per cent GNI as a starting point, which would still leave 99.9 per cent to spend here in the island.
We can do more for sustainability and for poverty around the globe.
If you’d like to find out more about the campaign or sign the petition visit www.point1.im.