The purpose of aid is to contribute to tangible improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest people. The aid effectiveness agenda, enshrined in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) aims to improve the quality of the delivery, management, and use of official development assistance (ODA) in order to maximise its development impacts.
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness follows five basic principles:
Ownership: Partner countries exercise effective leadership over their development policies and strategies and co-ordinate development actions
Alignment: Donors base their overall support on partner countries' national development strategies, institutions and procedures
Harmonisation: Donors' actions are more transparent, collectively effective and harmonised with each other
Managing for results: Managing resources and improving decision-making with a focus on results
Mutual accountability: Donors and partners are accountable for development results.
All children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. Yet, millions of children worldwide from all socio-economic backgrounds, across all ages, religions and cultures suffer violence, exploitation and abuse every day. Millions more are at risk.
Some girls and boys are particularly vulnerable because of gender, race, ethnic origin or socio-economic status. Higher levels of vulnerability are often associated with children with disabilities, who are orphaned, indigenous, from ethnic minorities and other marginalised groups. Other risks for children are associated with living and working on the streets, living in institutions and detention, and living in communities where inequality, unemployment and poverty are highly concentrated.
Natural disasters, armed conflict, and displacement may expose children to additional risks. Child refugees, internally displaced children and unaccompanied migrant children are also populations of concern. Vulnerability is also associated with age; younger children are at greater risk of certain types of violence and the risks differ as they get older.
The past century was the most violent in human history with many millions of people killed and injured in two world wars and other major conflicts between nations and peoples around the globe. Since 1990, more than three million people have died in armed conflict; almost all of the deaths directly attributable to conflict having happened in developing countries.
As we begin the 21st Century, while the number and extent of major international wars has decreased, there has been an increasing number of armed conflicts within countries, often spilling across regions. Violent conflict poses one of the greatest threats to human development, destroying lives and undermining efforts to eradicate poverty, as the majority of casualties in current wars are non-combatant civilians. At the same time, poverty and injustice can increase the risk of war and armed conflict, with wars more likely to be fought in countries that are poor and lack effective political and legal institutions.
Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.
The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company's actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, CSR-focused businesses would proactively promote the public interest (PI) by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality.
"Poor people are disproportionately disabled, and people with disabilities are disproportionately poor." – Robert Holzmann, Director of the World Bank's Social Protection Department, 2001.
Disability is a growing issue in our region as a result of population growth, ageing, lifestyle diseases, conflict, malnutrition, traffic accidents, injuries, HIV/AIDS and medical advances that preserve and prolong life. The United Nations estimates that approximately 10 per cent of the world's population, or approximately 650 million people, have a disability and about 80 per cent of the population with a disability live in developing countries. As many as 50 per cent of disabilities are preventable and directly linked to poverty.
Disability affects not only the individual, but their families and carers too. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that 25 per cent of the population in the Asia Pacific region are impacted by disability. Females with a disability living in developing countries can be doubly disadvantaged due to discrimination based on both their gender and their disability.
Only 2 per cent of people with a disability are estimated to have access to basic services (health and education). A World Bank study estimates the annual loss of GDP globally, due to persons with disabilities and family members being excluded from economic income activities, at between USD 1.71 trillion and USD 2.23 trillion annually, which amounts to between 5.35 per cent and 6.97 per cent of total global GDP.
"Vulnerability to disaster is growing faster than resilience.[...] Disaster risk reduction should be an everyday concern for everybody. Let us all invest today for a safer tomorrow."
- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The past year alone has brought an unprecedented number of disasters throughout the world, with millions of people having been affected. We’ve seen floods in Queensland and Victoria, floods in Pakistan, Brazil and the Philippines, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as earthquakes in New Zealand and China.
Many of us have had first-hand experience of the tremendous amount of turmoil, disruption and heartache associated, with the after effects lasting not just a few weeks, but rather years and sometimes even decades.
In the past ten years, disasters have killed an average of 98,000 people each year and destroyed the homes and livelihood’s of millions more. When there is a loss of infrastructure, a lack of drinkable water, roads are destroyed, families are displaced without shelter, with many at risk of malnutrition and diseases such as cholera and malaria, the enormity of the task at hand can seem overwhelming.
Shared and sustained economic growth is the most powerful driver of poverty reduction and is critical to achieving development outcomes, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Between 1990 and 2005, the number of poor people in the world fell by 400 million—despite strong population growth. In 1990, almost half the Asia-Pacific population lived in extreme poverty. Now only one quarter do. The evidence is clear that this outcome has been driven by strong and sustained growth.
Economic growth improves livelihoods, creates job opportunities and raises household and government incomes. Higher household incomes directly reduce poverty and help people afford the basic necessities of life. Growth also increases government revenues that can be invested into schools, roads, and hospitals. These are critical investments for growth and development—a healthy, well educated workforce is a more productive workforce. And a prosperous society is more peaceful and stable. Growth and human development are therefore mutually reinforcing. One cannot be sustained without the other.
Education is one of the best development investments. It is transformational for individuals, families and societies. It enables people to participate actively in their societies, increases access to employment and other sources of income and opens up opportunities. Education also delivers benefits in health, governance, productivity, gender equality and nation-building.
Achieving universal primary education and gender parity at all levels of education are Millennium Development Goals. While there has been some progress towards meeting these goals, worldwide at least 67 million children remain out of primary school and 250 million out of secondary school.Globally there has been an improvement in gender parity yet inequality for girls remains an issue—of the 27 million children out of primary school in Asia and the Pacific, 16 million are girls. Getting girls and boys to attend school is only part of the challenge. There is growing evidence that, even where enrolment targets are being met, children are not acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills. The poor quality of basic education affects students by reducing their capacity to succeed in further education or employment.
While rapid economic growth in the developing world is essential in providing the necessary resources for poverty reduction, economic growth can also place pressure on natural systems. The health of these systems is particularly important to the rural poor as their wellbeing and livelihoods are heavily dependent on productive soil, forests, oceans and fresh water. Without protecting natural systems, there is a risk that livelihood gains made through economic growth and development will not be sustainable over the long term.
The pressures on natural systems are also predicted to intensify with climate change. Climate change will potentially impact on all major development sectors, through potential for increased vulnerability of communities to disasters, increased spread of disease, lowered agricultural productivity and increased cost of infrastructure provision.
Almost one billion people don't get enough food to eat. When crops fail due to weather or disease poor rural communities, who have no other resources to pay for food, go hungry. Another major cause of hunger is conflict. Wars destroy agricultural fields, kill farmers and displace millions of people around the world. This means less food is produced and families who flee and become refugees lose their incomes and livelihoods.
In regions like southern Africa, food production is being affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic, which has left many farmers sick and unable to grow food. The Global Food Crisis brought other major causes of hunger into sharp focus. These include climate change, and a rapid rise in food prices linked to high oil prices, increased biofuel production and export restrictions.
Gender equality is central to economic and human development in a country. Removing inequalities gives societies a better chance to develop. When women and men have relative equality, economies grow faster, children's health improves and there is less corruption. Gender equality is an important human right.
While gains have been made, gender inequalities are still striking given that:
Investments in women's and girls' education and health yield some of the highest returns of all development investments, including reduced rates of maternal mortality, better educated and healthier children and increased household incomes.
Too many people in developing countries suffer from debilitating diseases that are preventable. Investing in health helps lay the groundwork for skilled and productive societies, and ensures that the poor can expand their range of choices, improve their opportunities and living standards.
Despite advances in the availability of health care, technology and medicine in many developing countries, there are a number of areas – such as women's and children's health, HIV and AIDS, malaria and the quality of health education – in which progress is either often slow or negative and the need for action is compelling.
Many Australian organisations are working to develop better health care in developing countries so that the poor can have more opportunities, be more productive and lead better lives.
“ All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
- Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Human rights recognise and respect the inherent value and dignity of all people, whatever their nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. Human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law which lays down obligations for governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect the rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.
In the context of international development, human rights can encapsulate the concepts of participation, empowerment, accountability and rights, or specific rights issues such as human trafficking, the safety and repatriation of refugees, and the right to safe drinking water, food, good sanitation, gender equality and education.
The lack of clean water, basic sanitation and good hygiene are at crisis point in poorer countries. It's a situation that traps people in a vicious cycle of poverty because it spreads disease and infection, costs lives, increases infant mortality, deprives people of their dignity, forces women into strenuous labour (walking long distances carrying heavy vessels to collect water) and prevents children from going to school (due to illness and spending time collecting water). These are also basic human rights, yet:
If we are to make headway in the fight against poverty, water, sanitation and hygiene need to improve first and foremost.
Most of humanity lives on just a few dollars a day. Whether you live in the wealthiest nations in the world or the poorest, you will see high levels of inequality.
The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.
One Just World forums explore the facts on world poverty, such as: