A PETITION calling for government to give more overseas aid was handed in to the Chief Minister Allan Bell on Tuesday.
The Point One campaign launched its petition three months ago at the Mannifest popular music festival at Glen Lough in August when festival goers marked their support – literally – with painted emblems on their faces.
As the campaign gained momentum almost 2,000 of the island’s voters from constituencies across the island added their signatures to the petition before it was officially handed over.
One of the campaign organisers, Kristina Crawford, who presented the petition said: ‘It’s fantastic that overseas aid has had so much support from the public, from all types of people across the island.
‘Thanks to all our volunteers and supporters who have helped us so much for making it happen. But we don’t stop with just the petition, we’re asking the public to contact their MHKs to tell them directly that they care about overseas aid.
‘Together we can make a real contribution to tackling extreme poverty.’
Campaigners, who joined Ms Crawford to hand over the petition hope to make a tangible difference to the lives of the 1.4 billion poeople world wide who live in extreme poverty.
The drive was further promoted by the recent Tea at Tynwald event held outside the legislative buildings where campaigers wooed workers leaving offices with free Fairtrade tea and coffee and cakes iced to spell out the Point One campaign logo.
To help promote the message, supporters have spoken in schools, churches and businesses across the island to highlight what overseas aid has achieved. At the same time they have drawn attention to the island’s relatively small contribution compared even with Jersey and Guernsey, and have encouraged people to contact their MHKs and voice their support.
In 2004 Tynwald pledged to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas aid by 2015. Despite this commitment, the island’s contribution is currently 0.07 per cent – 10 times less than the target.
To address this, Ms Crawford started the Point One campaign calling for a compromise which would see the island’s contribution rise to just 0.1 per cent of gross national income. This would be an interim measure with the ultimate target still being 0.7 per cent.
She said: ‘Overseas aid helps some of the world’s most vulnerable people, and though it does some great work, the Isle of Man gives less per GNI than almost all other developed countries.’
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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