29 January 2013


In 2000, world leaders promised to halve extreme poverty by 2015 with a global plan called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thanks to millions of people taking action and a massive global effort, real progress has been made. The number of people living in poverty has fallen to less than half of its 1990 level. Over two billion people gained access to better drinking water. The share of slum dwellers living in cities fell, improving the lives of at least 100 million people!

Yet, 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty. Every 4 seconds a child dies from preventable causes and over 900 million, particularly women and young people, suffer from chronic hunger. Meanwhile our population is set to rise to 9.5 billion by 2050 and the food system is at breaking point.

Climate change threatens to destroy the lives of millions more and undo all the progress we have made so far. Inequality is growing everywhere and human rights are being undermined in the worlds most fragile and conflict affected countries while the world economy continues to falter.

Despite all of this, for the first time in history we do have the resources to end poverty and grow our world sustainably. All have a role to play in making this happen by ensuring our Governments listen and take action on the things that matter most to people everywhere!

The debate on what should follow the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015 is thoroughly underway.  There is a new meeting, report or conference on the subject somewhere in the world almost every day.  Keep track of what the key players are thinking, writing and saying at post2015.org.

Beyond 2015 is one example of a global civil society campaign, pushing for a strong and legitimate successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals.

The World We Want aims to gather the priorities of people from every corner of the world and help build a collective vision that will be used directly by the United Nations and World Leaders to plan a new development agenda launching in 2015, one that is based on the aspirations of all citizens!

You can also take part in the MY World online poll asking people everywhere about the issues that make the most difference to their lives.


As demand for water hits the limits of finite supply, potential conflicts are brewing between nations that share transboundary freshwater reserves. More than 50 countries on five continents might soon be caught up in water disputes unless they move quickly to establish agreements on how to share reservoirs, rivers, and underground water acquifers.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. The theme of World Water Day, which will take place on 22 March, will also be dedicated to water cooperation.

The objective of this International Year is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services.

The Year will highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify burning issues on water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national/international legal frameworks, and the linkages with the Millennium Development Goals.

It also will provide an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum created at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and to support the formulation of new objectives that will contribute towards developing water resources that are truly sustainable.


According to a recently released report by the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector  in the UK, gagging clauses in contracts and attacks by government ministers on those who speak out in support of the vulnerable are making some charities fearful.

The result is growing concern about the extent of freedom of expression in the third (voluntary) sector and a belief that the government has become increasingly contemptuous of those provider organisations which also speak out against injustice and inequality.

The latest report is the second one from the group. In the earlier report the chair of the panel Sir Roger Singleton claimed that charities faced "real and present risks to independence of purpose, voice and action" with the risk that the voice of the vulnerable and marginalised being silenced, democracy being eroded and society impoverished.

There is also fear that government, stung by criticism from some groups, wishes to restrict the capacity of voluntary organisations to engage in advocacy related to their charitable aims.

Tabloid newspapers, who have maintained remorseless attacks on asylum seekers, benefit claimants and other vulnerable groups are also contributing to these fears.

Similar concerns about government's silencing of dissent have been raised previously in Australia.

28 January 2013


Australia celebrated its national holiday on Jan 26th, the date on which the first permanent European settlers arrived at Sydney cove. Some have questioned the suitability of this day if Australia's national day is to be fully inclusive.

Indigenous Australians often feel that the celebrations on Australia Day exclude them and their culture, and rather than being a day for celebration it is a day of mourning as the date marks the beginning of their dispossession and the destruction of their culture.

Whilst the Australian government has given a commitment to 'closing the gap' in life expectancy, infant mortality and deaths from preventable diseases that exists between indigenous and other Australians, the 'Close the Gap' campaign to improve indigenous health is ongoing.

In the meantime the campaign to update Australia's constitution to recognise both Indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is continuing with the government currently considering a set of recommendations to be put to the Australian people at a referendum.

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