North East Call to Action on Global Poverty and Climate Change
North East Call to Action on Global Poverty and Climate Change
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Welcome to North East Call to Action on Global Poverty and Climate Change - NE-CAP. (Prior to September 2010 we were known as MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY North East).

NE-CAP continues to promote the aims and activities of the national MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign that formally disbanded in 2006. That is, we call upon people in the North East - from Tees to Tweed - to join us in demanding that our government, and indeed the governments of the world, should act to alleviate poverty for the world's poorer countries by:

  • Trade justice
  • Dropping the debt
  • Providing more and better aid
  • Curbing climate change
  • Promoting Fairtrade

See our review of 2010 relating to these five areas.
See our review of 2009 relating to these five areas.
See review of 2010 from One (an international organisation) relating to these areas


Latest news, planned events and activities

The events listed below are organised by us, or by groups or individuals affiliated to us who have asked for their event to be included in this listing.

NE-CAP says: End Hunger Fast - in the UK!

From Judith Sadler, Chair; Kevin Haigh, Vice-Chair; and David Golding, Development Coordinator, on behalf of North East CALL TO ACTION.

( NB The above are not acting in their capacities as representatives of other agencies.)

We invite you to join us in our support for End Hunger Fast and to encourage others to do the same!

---

END HUNGER FAST

North East CALL FOR ACTION calls for support for End Hunger Fast

Register your support NOW at: http://endhungerfast.co.uk/

JOIN THE FAST ON 4th APRIL!

End Hunger Fast is supported by Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty, The Trussell Trust, the Child Poverty Action Group and many other agencies. Supporters include scores of church leaders, academics
and poverty campagners, and is approaching 100,000.

"Those who could be blamed the least, the poorest people.
have suffered the most."

So said the late Cardinal Basil Hume about the impact of Third World Debt, and it remains true to this day. However, the same can legitimately be said about the growing crisis of hunger and impoverishment in the UK - a crisis precipitated by the greed and recklessness of bankers, but deepened by government actions, and which has brought widespread "hunger and destitution" (Cardinal Vincent Nichols) to our own country.

Opinions vary as to the wisdom of the government's programme of financial stringency. However, the charge we lay at its door is that it has failed to protect the poorest and most vulnerable in our community in the process. Indeed, "over half of people using food banks have been put in that situation by cutbacks to and failures in the benefit system" (letter to the Prime Minister from 41 church leaders, 20th February). Recent so-called reforms' to the welfare system have become "more and more punitive", and are a "disgrace" (Cardinal Nichols), even if made with the good intentions.

By pledging to join the fast, you will help call on the government to
ensure:

* That the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against
hunger in Britain;

* That work pays enough for working people to properly provide for their families;

* That food markets function, promoting long term sustainable and healthy diets, with no one profiteering off hunger in Britain.

We encourage you to join us by registering your support now,
and joining the fast on 4th April!

1.      Go to http://endhungerfast.co.uk/;

2.      Click on 'Contact' (upper right);

3.      Then enter your details on right hand side.

Please download the full Word document here: NE-CAP Statement

***

GREAT NORTH RUN,SUNDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER
Please apply now!

The Jubilee Debt and Stop AIDS campaigns are two of the most effective movements in history in the fight against destitution and disease, and you can add your weight to them both – and enjoy a 'fantastic experience' - by joining the university's acclaimed 'Drop the Debt and Stop AIDS' team for its 12th glorious year in the Great North Run.

For information on how to join and read excellent feedback from previous runners, please download this Word document and contact Dr David Golding at david.golding[at]ncl.ac.uk

***

Here's the December 2013 edition of the NE-CAP Newsletter highlighting recent actitivities of our group and our individual members, please click here to download (1.14mb).

***

Great News for 'IF' Campaigners

Massive boost to AIDS fund - the Government has announced it's committing £1 billion to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria - more than doubling its contribution to this major global effort.

"Thank you for all you've done to help make this historic commitment happen!" (Ben Simms, Director of Stop AIDS)

The UN's Global Fund's impact has been one of humanity's great achievements during the past decade. It has already saved nearly 9 million lives and the £1 billion will provide therapy for a further 750,000 people living with HIV, 32 million more insecticide-treated nets to curb malaria, and TB treatment for over a million more people.

As Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Laureate in Economics and former Chief Economist of the World Bank, said about debt relief: "This would never have happened without the protests".

The news is immensely gratifying for everyone who's supported this year's national 'IF' campaign - the UK can only provide these funds because, after repeatedly promising to do so for 43 years, we are finally devoting 0.7% of national income to international aid. But don't fool yourself into thinking we are actually giving them anything - poor countries lose far more due to each of trade, tax and debt injustices than they get from aid.

Even so, this is particularly gratifying to the NE campaign, since half the funds - more than £60,000 over the past 11 years - raised by our Great North Run team goes to support the fight against HIV/AIDS.

REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE NOW INDISPUTABLE - AND HUMAN CAUSATION VIRTUALLY CERTAIN

The first section of the new 'Fifth Assessment Report' by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climage Change (IPCC), which deals with the physical science, was published on Friday 27th September.

According to a press release from the IPCC "warming in the climate system is unequivocal", but the language relating to causation is even more interesting. Whereas the 3rd Report published in 2001 stated that human influence by greenhouse gas emissions is "likely" (i.e., at least 60% probable), and the 4th Report in 2007 said it's "very likely" (at least 90% probable), the new report puts it as "extremely likely" (95-100% probable), because of all the new information now available.

Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation, states that "the Report should serve as yet another wake-up call that our activities today will have a profound impact on society not only for us but for many generations to come". He adds that "we are already seeing a change in weather patterns and extreme events such as hear waves, droughts and floods."

A veritable 'tour de force' in Stockton on Tees - NE Campaigners Jubilant

An amazing crowd of nearly 500 flocked to hear Dr Tony Campolo in Stockton on Tees on Monday evening, 2nd September, preach on the subject of "Seeking justice for the poor at home and abroad." And they were not disappointed - "incredibly inspiring", "so uplifted and challenged", and "a veritable tour de force" were just some of the many delighted reactions!

The event was a "Service of Christian Worship to which those of all faiths and none are invited", held in Stockton Baptist Tabernacle's wonderful auditorium which was packed to the doors. It was organised by North East CALL TO ACTION (NE-CAP), the regional global poverty and climate change grouping, with the support of all the main denominations and many Christian agencies, as part of its support for the 'Enough food IF' campaign.


Dr Tony Campolo

Dr Campolo argued powerfully that a responsibility to be active in combatting poverty is a major emphasis of the Bible. He said we need to be involved at various levels - at the micro level, involving individual action; at the intermediate level, through Christian agencies; and finally, through the macro level, seeking to reform unjust structures in society. He gave three examples of the latter: adding our voices in opposition to war, economic injustice, and environmental damage.

The event was honoured by the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Susan Snowdon; the Deputy Mayor of Stockton on Tees, Cllr Barbara Inman; and Mrs Margaret Sentamu. The congregation was welcomed to 'The Tab' by its pastor, the Revd Andrew Waugh; the service was led by Bishop Mark Bryant; Mrs Sentamu brought greetings from the Archbishop of York; and the Bible readings were delivered by Judith Sadler, Chair of NE-CAP, and Elliot Burrell, a young man who has recently been helped by the local 'Moses Project'. A music group from Tees Valley Community Church led the singing most ably, and the evening was rounded off by Dr David Golding CBE, Development Coordinator of NE-CAP, with an appeal for support for Christian advocacy within the region. Many agencies had stalls in a side hall and these were in great demand after the service.

Principals and Campaigners
Speakers and guests, together with some of the NE campaign's leaders.


Speaker and guests: (l-r) Revd Waugh, Cllr Inman, Mrs Snowdon, Dr Campolo, Mrs Sentamu, and Bishop Mark Bryant.

Photos courtesy of Peter Fairhurst.

Contact Dr David Golding CBE
Associate, Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS)
and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University

***

Dr Tony Campolo visits North East, talk on poverty and justice

Watch Tony's address here: http:http://vimeo.com/74098462

We are delighted to report that Dr Tony Campolo, one of the world's most inspiring speakers and formerly an advisor to President Clinton, has offered to speak for us on Monday evening, 2nd September, 2013.

Although we have organised major events in various centres, we have never had one on Teesside and are grateful that Stockton Baptist Tabernacle has agreed to host this one. We have suggested the title, "Seeking justice for the poor - at home and abroad", and Dr Campolo has agreed to this. It should enable him to encourage and motivate the widest possible range of people concerned with advocacy and compassionate mission.

"Seeking justice for the poor - at home and abroad"

A Service of Christian Worship at which those of all faiths and none will be warmly welcome
7:30pm, Monday 2nd September 2013
Auditorium, Stockton Baptist Tabernacle, The Square, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1TE

Preacher, Dr Tony Campolo
Guest of Honour, Mrs Margaret Sentamu
Chair, Rt. Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow

In the presence of...
The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Susan Snowdon
The Deputy Mayor of Stockton on Tees, Cllr Barbara Inman
and many other distinguished guests

Co-sponsored by:
Diocese of Durham, Northern Baptist Association, Methodist Church
R.C. Diocese of Middlesbrough, Salvation Army, United Reformed Church

Together with:
Cafod, Christian Aid, Church Action on Poverty, Council of North East Churches Acting Together, Jubilee Debt Campaign, North East Regional Faiths Network, Northumbria Community, Tearfund and many individual churches.

Ample municipal car parking is available, quite close to the church building, and it is free of charge after 6pm. A loop system operates within the auditorium for those with hearing problems.

Contact: Dr David Golding CBE (david.golding@ncl.ac.uk)
Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION on global poverty and climate change

Further information can be found here

***

Furthest from the action - strongest in supporting it!

Campaigners against global poverty and climate change, uniting under the banner of North East CALL TO ACTION, have built up a national reputation for the strength and persistence of their commitment. Following on from months of lobbying, this weekend sees about three score or more of them making their way to London for the big 'Enough Food For Everyone IF' events - church and inter-faith services in the morning and the major event in Hyde Park in the afternoon.

Many of them also fasted on Thursday 6th June in a small effort to 'make hunger personal'.

By far the most notable of these supporters is Colin Brannen, a 76-year-old veteran of many campaigns, who is now well into his 600-mile round trip cycle ride from Newcastle upon Tyne to London and back. Wow!


Colin Brannen, being helped on his way by a group of NE campaigners, courtesy Judith Sadler.


David Golding says: "According to WHO and UNICEF, child mortality has declined from 12 million p.a. in 1990, to less than 7 million in 2011. And the number in 2011 was about 10% less than in 2010. This proves that the bar-room bigots ("Overseas aid is all wasted") and defeatists ("You're just wasting your time") are just plain wrong - severe poverty can be tackled. But 7 million is 7 million too many and further reduction will depend in large part on reducing the number who die of 'chronic malnutrition' ('slow starvation' in plain English) - over 2 million at present."

Latest IF campaign e-bulletin with news and resources, with postscript by David Golding

Dear Friends,

Wow. What a weekend for the IF campaign. And what a huge moment for our movement.

Watch and share this inspiring highlight video (http://bit.ly/14sC36Z) from Big IF London and read this thank you note from Ben Jackson,Chair of the IF Board.

**Highlights
------------------------------------------------------------
On Saturday something incredible happened... More than 45,000 people rallied in Hyde Park. Meanwhile world leaders met to discuss the silent injustice of hunger and comitted a huge £2.7 billion to help tackle undernutrition. No IF member organisation could have achieved these results on their own, it is by coming together, in our diversity and numbers, that we have achieved this much. You and your organisation should be really proud of your part in IF.

** Big IF London
------------------------------------------------------------
Tens of thousands came together at the Big IF rally to hear powerful
speeches from Danny Boyle, Bill Gates and Angelique Kidjo (amongst others), and to add their name to the giant installation of spinning flowers.

* 45,000 people came to the Big IF rally
* The morning faith services were a great succes - with 3,500 at the
ecumenical service
* 1,215 volunteers worked over a period of 65 hours to make and then plant
250,000 spinning flowers - watch a time-lapse video of the process here.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A5DgcUpOS4)

Read the offical IF media release
(http://enoughfoodif.org/latest/big-if-london-45000) about the rally.

** Nutrition for Growth Summit
------------------------------------------------------------
At this event, chaired by the UK Government, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and the Brazilian Government, businesses, scientists, charities and governments made an historic pledge to end undernutrition in our lifetime. Pledges equal $4.15bn for direct nutrition spending and an additional $19bn for nutrition sensitive programmes were made.

The participants - who signed a Global Nutrition for Growth Compact -
committed their countries and organisations by 2020 to:
* improving the nutrition of 500 million pregnant women and young children
* reducing the number of children under five who are stunted by an
additional 20 million
* saving the lives of at least 1.7 million children by preventing stunting,
increasing breastfeeding and better treatment of severe and acute
malnutrition

Read the official IF response
(http://enoughfoodif.org/latest/response-nutrition-growth-summit) to the
Summit.

Sincerely,

IF Campaign Organising Committee presently ActionAid (Jenny Ricks), Bond (Sarah Jones), Cafod (Neil Thorns),Christian Aid (Sol Oyuela), Comic Relief (Adam Askew), Concern Worldwide UK, Natalie Duck), Global Poverty Project (Stephen Brown), ONE (Katie White), Oxfam (Sally Copley - Chair), Save the Children (Brendan Cox), Tearfund (Ben
Niblett) and UNICEF UK (Jane Cooper).

** Keep in touch with the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign:

Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/enoughfoodif)
Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/enoughfoodif)
Website (http://www.enoughfoodif.org)

DAVID COMMENTS: David Cameron is pleased that his 'hunger summit' agreed to double the aid directed at tackling hunger, and so are we, but will this be a repeat of previous G8s, when the leaders have made commitments to one area of need after another, but proceeded to do little more than shift the money around, 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'? The Prime Minister needs to be told that such a cynical parody of action will not be acceptable.

David Golding explains:

David Cameron's 'Hunger Summit' last Saturday was in two parts. In the morning, participants discussed what they could do to ease malnutrition, particularly among children, and we can all give the outcome a (cautious) 'two cheers' (but see postscript to, "Wow. What a weekend for IF"). During the afternoon, it was the turn of the 'New Alliance' of big corporations supposedly committed to acting against hunger in Africa - an initiative of last year's G8 - and the focus was on investment in farming.

IF is decidedly 'iffy' (!) about this Alliance, as its statement below shows:

IF response: New Alliance event

Reacting to the outcome of the second half of today's Hunger Summit, which focused on agricultural investment and was chaired by the UK Government, Sally Copley, Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign spokesperson, said:

"This morning made historic progress on addressing malnutrition, but this afternoon is a real missed opportunity to boost public investment in the small farmers that feed a third of the world's population. The expansion of the New Alliance is not the answer to decades of declining aid to agriculture. It urgently needs to reform further and faster to ensure it helps small-scale farmers, particularly women, and respects land rights."

DAVID COMMENTS: I personally think that's putting it mildly!

If the New Alliance "needs to reform further and faster to ensure it helps small-scale farmers, particularly women, and respects land rights", as Sally says; and

If participating countries are being told to "make it easier for foreign corporations to buy up land and end trade protection" (Nick Dearden, The Guardian, 10th June); then

- the Alliance is not only "not the answer", it's development and growth poses a serious threat to the hungry poor. This needs to be said.

Finally, have we spent over 40 years campaigning for international aid, only to see nearly £400 million from the UK aid budget pledged to a conglomerate of the world's biggest corporations?! We've warmly praised David Cameron for coming through with the 0.7%, and we were right to do so, but that should be balanced by a sharp rebuke for this grotesque abuse of the aid budget.

CALL TO ACTION, May 2013: Make hunger personal on Thursday 6th June

Please join us, and...
Make hunger personal on Thursday 6th June, and join others in The Big IF Fast
Read more and watch the video at www.enoughfoodif.org/ifast

How much do you want to end hunger? Worldwide, 1 in 8 people can't get enough food. As part of our action around the G8, we're going to make hunger personal, just for one day, by choosing to go without food so the leaders of the world see how hungry we are for change!

Your 'fast' can be what you choose it to be - for example, to go without food from your evening meal on Wednesday 5th until you break your fast during the evening of Thursday 6th; or to go without just one meal; or even without beverages other than tap water.
Note: you should not fast if you are ill or taking medication, without seeking medical advice. We do not encourage fasting for under 18s.

MAKE IT COUNT: register for The Big IF Fast
To ensure maximum political impact, it's really important that we tell the world we're fasting. (It would be a shame to give so much up without it getting noticed, after all!)
Please make sure that you register your involvement in The Big IF Fast at www.enoughfoodif.org/ifast

CALL TO ACTION, May 2013: Three easy e-actions

Please support us by taking 3 really easy e-actions, one for support for clean energy, and another two for action to curb tax dodging - all three took me LESS THAN 10 MINUTES!
Please let us know when you have done them by email - just one word, "Done", plus the name of your Parliamentary Constituency.
  1. We have shamefully neglected our friends at Stop Climate Chaos, but this is an opportunity to catch up! We've already got nearly 300 MPs supporting the inclusion of a clean power target in the Energy Bill, but need a final push to get a few more. Go to www.stopclimatechaoscoalition.createsend1.com/t/y-l-trjkutk-ydujlykiyh-b/
  2. Please take action to curb tax dodging and so raise your voice against the men of greed who, for their own enrichment, cheat the poor of their 'daily bread'. Contact your MP at www.enoughfoodif.org/taxaction>www.enoughfoodif.org/taxaction
  3. To support Oxfam's petition, google "Act now to stop tax dodging -Oxfam", or go to www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/find-an-action/tax-dodging-2 NOTE: you must un-tick the box provided if you don't want to receive emails from them!

    In my briefing at the time of the budget, I said that "urgent and radical reform" on taxation is "most important". It's also amazingly timely, because everyone is up in arms about tax dodging by companies operating here. We'd be crazy not to 'strike whilst the iron is so hot'!
    We've had terrific support from regional supporters so far! I don't have comparative figures, but our budget lobbying may well have been the best in the country.

    And this is what Baroness Glenys Kinnock said about the Inaugural Lecture and its support: "Thank you for organising a terrific evening . I was shocked when I walked into the lecture theatre and saw such a crowd!".

    With every good wish,
    Dr David Golding CBE (david.golding@ncl.ac.uk)
    (on behalf of NE-CAP and Enough Food IF)

    CALL TO ACTION, April 2013: Cut price travel to big IF events
    Dear Friends of North East CALL TO ACTION, We can get a few REDUCED RATE TRAIN TICKETS to enable supporters to get to London for the 'Enough food for everyone IF' big day on Saturday, 8th June.

    THIS IS MOST URGENT - this offer applies right now, but we cannot promise to honour it indefinitely;

    • PRICE: £50 return (as compared with standard fare of £85-£95)
    • TIMES: Outward 07.22 from Newcastle; Arrive 10.45
    • Return 18.00 (6.00pm) from Kings Cross; Arrive 22.30
    • Trains with no changes; longer return journey due to planned engineering works.

    Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like one or more ticketss!

    The inaugural 'NEWCASTLE JUBILEE DEVELOPMENT LECTURE'
    North East CALL TO ACTION warmly invites you to the inaugural 'Newcastle Jubilee Development Lecture' to be given by Baroness Glenys Kinnock on Tuesday 23rd April, 5:30pm at the Curtis Auditorium, Hershcel Building, Newcastle University. This is a notable event, unique in the UK, and an excellent opportunity for you to show your support for this year's 'Enough Food for Everyone IF' campaign, and for the wider drive against severe global poverty.

    Everyone is welcome, no tickets required, but we advise you to arrive early to get a seat. Further information can be found here

    'Beyond the MDGs - Charting a Course for a Fairer World'
    If you were unable to attend the inaugral Newcastle Jubilee Development Lecture you can find the full text of Baroness Kinnock's inspiring talk here

    Enough food for Everyone IF
    This month more than 150 organisations have rallied together to take action on global hunger. The campaign: 'enough food if'. The Campaign challenges our generation to be the one that 'ends hunger forever'. You can show your support, take action and learn more here and show your support for the campaign.

    Archbishop Tutu & Bill Gates have both shown their support, you can read their comments here and keep up to date with progress using the twitter hashtag #if

    Major Joint Agency Campaign on Food and Hunger
    Regional Launch & Photo Call
    9.15am Friday 25th January 2013
    St Thomas’ Church, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne
    To include unfurling of giant campaign banner

    Later this month, a major campaign on food and hunger will be launched by a coalition of over 50 of the UK’s leading agencies – including NE-CAP. We are coming together because, despite there being enough food in the world to feed everyone, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and over two million children die from malnutrition annually. With action to address the root causes of hunger we can change this.

    The campaign will be launched nationally on Wednesday 23rd January in London, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow, and subsequently there will be a series of regional launches across the country organised by Christian Aid. Our event will last no longer than 30-45 minutes and we are inviting the region’s MPs, MEPs, faith leaders, representatives of the supporting agencies and local celebrities.

    Please join us if you can, to help make our launch the best supported anywhere! Poster to print out of the event is here.

    For university chaplins to consider...
    To All UK University Chaplains
    An urgent request for comprehensive support for:
    Faith Leaders' 'Jubilee for Justice' Letter

    Appendix 1: - The Faith Leaders' Letter
    Appendix 2: - Article by Archbishop Sentamu

    Great North Run 2013
    We are recruiting!!
    Fancy doing the great north run this coming September (15th)? Why not run for our team in support of Drop the Debt and Stop AIDS?
    Details here.

    Dates for your diary
    Tuesday 23rd April at 5.30pm at Newcastle University
    The inaugural ‘Newcastle Jubilee Development Lecture’, to be given by Baroness Glenys Kinnock of Holyhead
    Sponsored by the Diocese of Newcastle, Newcastle University and Jubilee Debt Campaign

    Monday 2nd September at 7.30pm, in Stockton Baptist Tabernacle
    ‘Justice for the poor, at home and abroad’
    Speaker, the world-renowned Tony Campolo

    The Benefits of Debt Cancellation
    In 2011, David Golding, Development Co-ordinator of NE-CAP visited Tanzania and Zambia. You can see a video of his trip here where he sees for himself, and shares with us, the benefits of debt cancellation. This is a great illustration of how campaigning really does make a difference.

    Submission to the Leveson Inquiry - March 2012
    Leveson Inquiry welcomes NE-CAP’s Development Co-ordinator’s major submission

    Press release - May 2012 - here
    Full submission here

    The Leveson Inquiry was set up as a result of the ‘phone hacking scandal, but its remit was far wider than this, namely, to investigate the ‘Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press’. Dr David Golding CBE, NE-CAP’s Development Coordinator, has made a major submission to the Inquiry, albeit ‘in a personal capacity only’, and this has been welcomed and will be published as part of the Inquiry’s evidence.

    David says, “The impetus for my submission was originally provided by recent articles on international aid in the Daily Mail and the material I presented on this subject is largely the content of an Open Letter sent to the Editor of the Mail on 14th December, 2011 (correspondence relating this is still ongoing).

    “I stated to the Inquiry that I believe the issues I was raising are far more important than that involved in the abuses which led to the setting up of the Inquiry, however serious that may be. It was my contention that the behaviour of the press relating to some of the great issues of the day not infrequently constitutes gross professional misconduct, by involving blatant distortion of the facts and demonstrating utter contempt for the responsibility to provide well informed and balanced treatment.”

    In addition to the matter of international aid, two other examples dealing with quite different issues are cited (namely HIV/AIDS denialism and climate scepticism), to illustrate the fact that this serious problem is both long- standing and endemic within large sections of the press.

    David received the following response: “Thank you for your submission/ witness statement to the Inquiry. We are very grateful to you for taking the time to assist the Inquiry. The information that you have provided is relevant to the Inquiry and we therefore would like to publish it as part of the Inquiry's official record… This will not require you to give oral evidence to the Inquiry. [shame!] Instead, your submission will be published on the Inquiry's website.”

    Up and coming Christian Aid events
    Christian Aid have a number of events coming up soon in the North East. Details here.

    Click here for a full list of current, future and past events.


    Occasional papers / articles for thought and debate

    An open letter to the Dail Mail on International Aid
    From David W. Golding - December 2011

    I was deeply disturbed to read the articles and editorial on international aid on 3rd December 2011. [ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2069343/Foreign-aid-law-plan- Ministers-want-commit-Britain-billions-handouts.html ] Surely, even the slightest concern for fairness, or the smallest concern to help your readers come to a balanced judgement on this issue, would have led you to include information on the benefits provided by aid (as confirmed by independent studies by the World Bank, for example), as well as the matters to which you object. In their absence, the impression given, I hope mistakenly, was that of sheer spite - of spite, indeed, towards the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself! On 12th May 1789, ‘a sickly shrimp of a man’, William Wilberforce MP, gave his first speech in Parliament on the slave trade. “I will not accuse the Liverpool merchants,” he said. “I will allow them to be men of humanity… and I verily believe that if the wretchedness of any one of the many hundred Negros stowed in each ship could be brought within their view, that there is no one among them whose heart could bear it.”

    Likewise, I will not ‘accuse you’, but allow you to be a ‘man of humanity’ and, likewise, ‘verily believe’ that if the wretchedness of the people to whom you would deny aid could be brought home to you, your heart too ‘could not bear it’. For example, in the early 2000s, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, economics advisor to the United Nations, was visiting the main hospital in Malawi, and the doctor suggested he stepped into the medical ward. Sachs recalls that:

    “There was no medicine in the medical ward. The ward had 150 beds - there were 450 people in the ward. These 450 people were fit into a room with 150 beds by putting three people in or around each bed. Two people were lying head to toe, toe to head, in each bed – strangers sharing a death bed. Alongside or underneath the bed there was somebody on the ground, sometimes literally on the ground or sometimes on a piece of cardboard, dying beneath the bed. The room was filled with moans. Family members were sitting by the beds, swabbing dried lips and watching their loved ones die.” Of AIDS, of course.

    Of the three examples you cited, one was completely unrepresentative (48 Pitcairn islanders – in the immortal words of John McEnroe, “You cannot be serious!”), and one based on error – the Land Rovers for Mugabe were not financed by the aid budget, but by the ECGD, a department charged with promoting British exports. The other one (India) is admittedly debatable, although I believe our aid is put to good use there.

    You failed to mention that the financial crisis, for which the rich countries (reckless bankers, incompetent governments, and irresponsible consumers alike) are entirely to blame, has pushed an extra 100 million people back into absolute poverty. These are not people whose children cry themselves to sleep at night because of hunger, but people whose children are too weak to cry. So once again, as with Third World Debt, "Those who could be blamed the least, the poorest people in the poorest countries, are suffering the most." (The late Cardinal Basil Hume)

    Furthermore, as I pointed out above, you did not so much as breath a word about the hundreds of millions of people who are receiving real and life changing benefits from aid and debt relief. For example, since 2000, the number of AIDS patients receiving life- saving drugs has risen 100-fold to nearly 7 million – and that means that tens of millions of children will not be left orphans in a cold and callous world! That includes 75% of those in most need in Malawi, so that conditions in the medical ward described above have been transformed. Treatment to prevent infection of babies with the HIV virus during birth (a fairly simple procedure) has risen from about 5% to over 50%.

    Similarly, an estimated extra 42 million children, most of them girls, are attending primary school. Smallpox – a hideous disease – has been eradicated; and polio has been cut to 1,600 cases, a reduction of over 99%. Healthcare is now free for pregnant women in several African countries – increasing the number receiving it by half a million each year in Ghana alone. In Bangladesh, vaccination for the six common childhood diseases (it costs little more than a pound) has gone from 10% to 70%, child mortality has been more than halved (as in several Africa countries) - and the fertility rate has been reduced by more than 50%! As Salil Shetty, Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, put it last year, "Instead of just lamenting that Africa might miss the MDG targets, we should be celebrating the real changes that have happened in the lives of millions of poor people”.

    What the International Development Department doesn't care to flag up (I wonder why? ) is that the real recipients of 'foreign aid' are the rich countries! Unfair trade rules, tax dodges by big corporations, and debt repayments, each cost poor countries far more than they get in aid. And those things don't take into account our habit of 'poaching' many of their brightest and best trained people, nor the impacts of climate change, for which we are entirely responsible. ‘There should be a law against it!'

    In conclusion: "Telling lies to Bob [Geldof] and me is one thing. Putting their signature on a G8 communique and lying to their citizenry is another matter. Breaking promises to the most vulnerable people on earth is real infamy." (Bono) It is indeed. We didn’t have to make these solemn pledges to ‘the most vulnerable people on earth’, but we did make them and we should keep them!

    David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL

    Notes on specific points raised by the Daily Mail:

    Those 48 Pitcairn islanders: I don’t suppose the British Government knows what to do with this handful of British citizens living on a large rock in the South Pacific, and I certainly don’t! Inevitably, keeping them supplied isn’t cheap on account of their geographical isolation. However, to use them to denigrate British aid more widely is simply absurd.

    Aid to India: This is obviously debatable in view of the scale of this country’s expenditure on its military (and its space programme!), although I understand that good work is done with our aid in the provision of schooling. However, our past responsibilities for this country have to be born in mind. Furthermore, it may well be that DfID has set up worthwhile projects in the past and doesn’t want to walk away from them. Capricious funding is the bane of aid for development, with money often being wasted because of a lack of on-going commitment, and DfID may be trying to avoid this pitfall. [In contrast, debt relief provides a dependable source of funding into the future and is a superior method of assistance.]

    “Charity should begin at home”: Of course it should, but it shouldn’t stop there – otherwise none of us would lift a finger for anyone outside our own family circles! In any case, developing countries are not in receipt of charity, but of a multiplicity of injustices, as I outlined above. The irony is that ‘enlightened self-interest’ - an intelligent concern for our own welfare, and that of future generations - will lead us to take vigorous action to reduce the obscene chasm which has opened up between rich and poor globally. Such a world is a dangerous and unhealthy one, as well as being morally indefensible. As an African proverb puts it, “No one can sleep soundly, knowing that his neighbour is hungry”.

    “Pensioners could freeze to death this winter”: There’s an ‘easy answer’ to this, indeed, several! (1) Action should be taken to ban ‘regressive’ tariffs, which result in higher prices for people using smaller amounts of fuel as a consequence of the imposition of standing charges and price reductions for higher levels of fuel use. After all, we don’t face a standing charge when we visit the petrol station, nor do ‘gas guzzlers’ qualify for cheaper fuel! Better still, by far, would be the introduction of ‘progressive’ tariffs, for example, with everyone getting a small, free ‘fuel allowance’, with a flat rate thereafter. This wouldn’t cost the Exchequer a single penny. (2) A national drive on home insulation would combat fuel poverty; reduce future imports of fuel; create substantial numbers of jobs; and curb carbon emissions – a win/win/win/win outcome! It could be paid for by reversing the Government’s measures favouring motorists, given that the overall cost of motoring has fallen substantially over the past decade. [See “Cars are a cheap option” by the author.] (3) According to the independent, highly respected IFS, the financial changes announced since the election (as distinct from those initiated by the previous government) have been regressive – i.e., hitting the poorest hardest. This bias should be reversed.

    “Corrupt regimes and vanity projects”: It’s sad to see these dreary old prejudices being trotted out week after week. Of course, we should take the government to task when it fails to be vigilant regarding the use of aid and there’s always room for improvement, but these sweeping and destructive slanders help not at all.

    If we wait till impoverished societies sort out their problems with corruption before tackling poverty, we’ll wait forever, because extreme poverty is one of the main engines of corruption. As Professor Jeffrey Sachs explained, “Good governance raises incomes, but also, and perhaps even more important… higher income leads to improved governance. A more literate and affluent society is better able to keep the government honest… second, a more affluent society can afford to invest in high quality governance” – for example, pay civil servants, teachers, police, etc., a living wage.

    During my visit to Tanzania and Zambia earlier this year, it became abundantly clear to me that, despite the high levels of corruption in those countries, large numbers of decent and able people are doing good things there. I visited a secondary school which had been built by entirely by the local people, with the exception of the timber and metal roof - that had been provided by the government. I asked the Deputy Head, “How long did you have to wait for them to do it?” He replied, “About a month”! I visited a clean, spacious and apparently well staffed hospital, and I saw numerous new pumps providing clean water in remote valleys. In each case, these developments were made possible by the provision of aid and debt relief.

    ...........................

    “Cars are a cheap option”
    Published in ‘Metro’, 20th December, 2011. [Wording excluded from published version shown in square brackets.]
    From David W. Golding

    I see the motoring lobby is up to its usual tricks decrying the news that only a third of drivers’ taxes is spent on roads (Metro, Friday Dec 16). In its comment, the AA failed to mention the widespread damage to health which results from urban traffic, or the enormous carbon pollution of the world’s atmosphere.

    Furthermore, although fuel has become more expensive in terms of cost per litre, motorists are paying only about 1% more for their fuel than they were in 1980, when the price is adjusted for inflation, on account of the greater efficiency of present day engines, according to a Which? study in April 2011.

    It’s the overall cost of motoring (purchase as well as running costs) which really matters to drivers [and the Government’s own figures show that] this is down about 14% in real terms over the decade. So much for “turning the clock back on social mobility”, as the AA claims. [In contrast, bus and coach fares have risen by about 24% over the same period.] In reality, its poorer people who rely on public transport who pay through the nose.

    Dr David Golding CBE, Newcastle University

    ...........................

    Climate Change - Point & Counterpoint - added Dec 2009
    A paper by David Golding
    An abridged version is also available here.

    Amnesty International Dignity Campaign - added July 2009
    A paper by Peter Sagar

    Environmentalism and spirituality - added April 2009
    A paper by Peter Sagar

    Carbon Fast - Carbon Diet - added March 2009
    A paper by David Golding

    Climate Change - A brief outline of the strength of the scientific consensus - added March 2009
    A paper by David Golding

    Is Environmental Concern 'A New Morality'? - added March 2009
    A paper by David Golding

    The Real Global Warming Swindle - added July 2007. This is a continuation from the article in the Climate Change Special Edition newsletter 2007. By David Golding

    Carbon Offsetting - added May 2007
    A paper by David Golding

    I count - added May 2007
    A personal look at his own carbon offsetting by David Golding

    Is the Trade Justice Movement politically biased?
    Written by Dr David Golding, November 2006.

    Honorary Degrees Acceptance Speech by Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer
    The speech that he made during the honorary degree ceremony of Newcastle University in January 2007 ends....
    " I say to this great audience today, at this historic ceremony that we will remember for years to come: 'Have confidence and have faith. Hold fast to the belief that it can and will be said of our generation that we built a movement on ethical foundations that had the vision, had the courage and had the moral strength and the greatness to do the right thing; that we will continue to work unflinchingly and unfailingly to build justice in our time and indeed to Make Poverty History' ".


    NE-CAP and MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY North East in the press....

    • Article in Northern Echo 29th June 2006
    • Letter published in the Newcastle Journal, August 2006
    • Article in Hartlepool Mail, 17 October 2006
    • See here and here what the BBC said about the 'Stop Climate Chaos' rally on November 4th which was attended by a North East contingent.
    • The sage event of 8th January 2007 was covered in the Newcastle Journal and the Newcastle Chronicle.
    • Article in Local News Guardian 17th July 2008
    • regarding climate change.
    • Content of article published in Local News Guardian in May 2009 entitled 'Pupils help promote climate change strategy'
    • Content of letter published in Metro News 15th February 2010
    • regarding foreign aid.
    • Content of letter published in Evangelicals Now (May edition 2010)
    • regarding climate change.
    • Content of letter published in Idea, the magazine of the Evangelical Alliance (May/June edition 2010)
    • regarding climate change.
    • Article in Northumberland Gazette 11th November 2010
    • regarding roadshow event.
    • Content of letter published in The Guardian 26th March 2011
    • regarding fuel duty and climate change.
    • Content of letter published in The Guardian 22nd July 2011
    • in response to a leader entitled, “David Cameron in Africa, Resolute on Aid”.
    • Content of letter published in Metro News 21st May 2012
    • regarding cars and public trasport.

    And a letter from Downing Street, July 2006. In this letter the prime minister encourages campaigners to "...keep up the pressure...". We agree as, although there has been progress, there is still plenty to achieve to Make Poverty History.


    NE-CAP has the following aims and objectives:

    • To continue to promote the aims of the national MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign of 2005, with its emphasis on 'Trade Justice, Drop the Debt and More and Better Aid', in accordance with the manifesto of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY.
       
    • To promote urgent action to curb climate change, given that "The impacts of climate change will fall disproportionately upon developing countries and the poor....within all countries". (Third report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
       
    • To promote Fairtrade, and support the wider work of relief and development NGOs (non-government organisations).
       
    • To support all those in the Tees-to-Tweed region seeking to promote the above aims.
       
    • To work with other organisations having similar aims, and network with groups in other areas.
       
    • To encourage other areas in the country to set up local groups to promote economic justice.

    The full constitution can be found here.


    NE-CAP acknowledges with gratitude financial support received during 2011 from:

    Alnwick House Church £100.00
    Jubilee Debt Campaign £300.00
    Sacriston Everyman's Club £20.00
    Save the Children £201.40
    Anonymous £40.00

 
 
 
Patrons
 
Martin Callanan
Cons. MEP for NE England
 
Jonathan Edwards CBE
Olympic Gold Medalist
 
Helen Goodman
Labour MP for Bishop Auckland
 
John Grundy
Writer & Broadcaster
 
Lord Rupert Redesdale & Lady Helen Redesdale
 
....................

Message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to North East campaigners, January 2006...

"How wonderfully you have supported us in our struggle against apartheid. You did Make Apartheid History! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for wanting to make poverty history. Well done. Go on to the Jubilee, on to Trade Justice and on to make Poverty History!".


Quote from Stuart Maconie, ‘Pies and Prejudice – in Search of the North’, Ebury Press, 2007...

"Because of the Jarrow March… Newcastle and poverty go together in the British imagination… but when I googled for ‘Newcastle’ and ‘poverty’… all I found were site after site encouraging Geordies to ‘Make Poverty History’ and calling for the cancellation of Third World Debt."