World Vision welcomes UK government's commitment to humanitarian aid affirmed in the budget

from World Vision
Published on 19 Mar 2014

The Chancellor today reaffirmed the UK government's promise to spend 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) on overseas aid and development.

World Vision is delighted that the UK now looks set to be the first G8 country to honour this commitment that was first made 44 years ago in 1970.

This money will save more lives, give more people access to clean water and sanitation and get more children into school.

“This confirms the UK as a leading player in international development. This is something we as a nation can and should be justifiably proud of” said Justin Byworth, Chief executive of World Vision.

“The news that the government has maintained its commitment is welcome and particularly poignant given the three year anniversary of the Syria crisis last weekend - a crisis in which UK aid is making life a little more bearable for over a million children now living as refugees in terrible conditions.”

Mr Byworth continued: "World Vision looks forward to seeing next month's figures which will confirm whether the government has spent 0.7 of Gross National Income on aid. If confirmed, we will commend the coalition government for keeping its promise to the world's most vulnerable children.

“As the international community faces instability and humanitarian disasters, both natural and man-made, it is important that the 0.7 per cent commitment is met – both now and in the future.”

However, World Vision is calling on the coalition government to go a step further and deliver on its promise to enshrine this commitment in law.

Gavin Crowden, Head of Public Affairs for World Vision UK, has recently returned from a trip to Lebanon and Jordan seeing how money is spent:

"I saw for myself the difference UK aid makes to Syrian refugee children's lives. In Lebanon I visited a half built house with no walls or windows which was meant for a single family when finished. Sixty refugees lived in this dirty, dangerous building site. UK aid has given them clean water, toilets and the hope of something better.

“In the Za'atri refugee camp in Jordan, I met a Syrian father who showed me the shrapnel scars on his legs - he survived two bomb attacks. He fled to keep his wife and five children and safe. UK aid is helping them to survive the camp, get their children into temporary schooling and keeping them fed.”

• Aid may only be part of the solution when it comes to ending poverty over all, but it make a real difference to people living in the world’s toughest places. In Afghanistan, for example, child mortality has halved in nine years.

• In September (2012), the latest figures showed that the number of children under the age of five who died from preventable causes in 2011 was 700,000 lower than the year before. That is the biggest annual fall in child mortality ever recorded. And it was not a blip. Some five million fewer children died last year than in 1990, with the fastest fall in numbers in Africa.

• In no small measure, the improvements are down to the international community. Global aid has wiped out smallpox; it has controlled HIV and Aids in six million people; it has put 46 million more children into school in the past two decades; and it will vaccinate one child every two seconds for the next five years.