Historic moment: UK aid commitment enshrined in law
It has been 45 years in the making, but this week the UK made history when it became the first G7 country to enshrine the UK’s aid commitment into law.
Mar 11 2015
On Monday 9 March members of the House of Lords turned out in force to support the International Development Bill in its final stage of legislation. Since the bill was first tabled back in September 2014, political wrangling has been side-lined and UK Parliamentarians, from both sides of the House, united to make a cross-party pledge to enshrine the UK’s aid commitment in law. This important piece of legislation will ensure that this historic commitment, to spend 0.7% of its gross national income on overseas aid, is protected here on in.
Through the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign, Action Against Hunger called - with over 170 other British NGOs – for the UK government to deliver on this promise made to the world’s poorest so long ago and we were part of the "final push" to get the government over the 0.7% line last year.
Now, less than a year since reaching this historic target, we are thrilled International Development Bill has passed. This Bill, which was included in all three major party manifestos in 2010, is a positive move for a number of reasons:
- The UK is sending a positive message to the UK public and internationally, that as a country and government we will keep our commitment to the world's poorest people, supporting them to lift themselves out of poverty. Hopefully, this show of leadership will encourage other donor governments to also meet the UN target and contribute to bringing greater stability to developing countries.
- Passing the bill means maintaining Britain’s current commitment, not increasing it. Because this target is a percentage rather than a set figure, this legislation pegs our aid to the performance of the UK economy. When times are good, we give more, and when life is tough, we give a little less.
- By meeting this 0.7% commitment – established by the UN in 1970 – we are able to focus on how we continue to improve the quality of aid to address the root causes of global challenges, instead of having an annual debate on whether we intend to stick to our commitments.
- By enshrining this commitment into law we are ensuring this is a lasting commitment. This is a very timely move. Increasing the predictability of aid to developing countries is more important than ever as we approach the next round of global development gaols, and move towards a stronger focus on sustainable development. This means that our government can make smart long- term investments and support developing countries and plan and implement long-term strategies towards the eradication of global poverty and hunger.
- So far UK aid has stopped 24.5 million children, breastfeeding and pregnant women from going hungry. Now with this commitment enshrined into law, Action Against Hunger will be working to ensure UK aid is spent in the most effective ways to have the biggest impact on hunger and undernutrition.
UK aid: A View from the street
Your incredible support helps organisations like ours change lives every day. As individuals and a country, we will continue to work towards a world without child hunger; a world in which every child has the same chances and opportunities. Thank you for helping us achieve this historic breakthrough.