Steve Cockburn on the human right to water

There’s a very interesting blog by LCID’s Steve Cockburn over on the Progress site about the Tories pulling out of the process to recognise the right to water.

In July the UK abstained on a UN resolution tabled by the president of Bolivia recognising access to water and sanitation as a human right, due to its status as the second biggest cause of under-five deaths in the world. Then just a month ago, Her Majesty’s government ‘disassociated itself from a Human Rights Council resolution that made this legally binding’ – the diplomatic equivalent of picking up your football and storming home.

This puts us in some unfortunate company, as one of only 12 countries who fail to recognise the right. And Steve makes the importance of the issue clear:

Lack of access to water and sanitation is a perfect example. Those who suffer most are also the most powerless – the girls who drop out of school because of poor sanitation facilities, the rural women kept out of work because they must walk hours every day for water, the women in slums who risk sexual assault when travelling to distant toilets every night, the 1.5 million children under-5 who die of diarrhoeal diseases every year.Because they lack power, they are often ignored. National policies can be blind to the poorest communities, donor funding weakest in the poorest countries, and water sources threatened by resource-hungry industries paying scant regard to the needs of local populations.

You can read the blog post in its entirety over at Progress.

Congratulations to Ed Miliband

LCID congratulates Ed Miliband MP on becoming the new leader of the Labour Party.

We look forward to working with the former Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change to ensure global poverty stays high on the parties agenda in the coming years.

During the Leadership campaign we asked Ed about his views on global poverty. You can watch his answers here.

All the leadership videos, here, in one place…

Over the past few days, we’ve released videos of each of the Labour leadership candidates answering your questions.

Here are the videos again, in one article. Don’t forget to comment at the bottom of the page and tell us what you think of their answers. Could they be better? Do you think the candidates have it right? Let us know.

If you want to put more questions to the candidates in person, sign up for our hustings in Bristol.

To vote in the Leadership election, don’t forget to join the Labour Party for a £1 before 08 September!

Ed Miliband

David Miliband

Andy Burnham

Ed Balls

Diane Abbott

We apologise for the sound quality in the interview with Diane Abbott – a full transcript can be found here.

Sign up to Robin Hood’s Saving Challenge

Rather than telling the Government how it can hack at public services to lower the deficit, why not take part in a real debate about how the economy could recover? The people over at the Robin Hood Tax are running the Saving Challenge to do just that.

A series of taxes on the banks in the UK could raise tens of billions each year to help recoup some of this lost money and help the poorest at home and abroad who have been hit hardest by the economic crisis.

They’ll be turning your responses into a daily blog and then reporting back to us all at the end of July.

LCID supports the Robin Hood Tax, and has since the campaign was launched. A small levy on financial transactions could raise such staggering amounts of money that it could save the lives of thousands.

Have a look at their website and sign up to the Saving Challenge.

Invitation: Join LCID as we host Douglas Alexander – This Tuesday!

Join Labour Campaign for International Development as we host Rt Hon Douglas Alexander, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

Tuesday 29 June | 7.30-8.30pm
Grand Committee Room, Houses of Parliament

Almost five years since 250,000 marched through the streets of Edinburgh in support of Make Poverty History, and millions around the world took part in Live 8 concerts – and in what will be a key year for international development with the UN Millennium Development Goals summit in December, Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP will set out the key challenges going forward for the movement to tackle global poverty – and his assessment of the first few weeks of the Con-Lib government.

The speech will be followed by a Q+A session.

To attend, please RSVP to tim@lcid.org.uk by 5pm on the day of the event.

This event is open to anyone interested in international development, so please forward this invitation to your contacts and friends.

Guests will need to go through security at Cromwell Green entrance, and ask for directions to the Grand Committee Room. Apologies for the short notice of this event.

Many thanks,

David

David Taylor
Chair, Labour Campaign for International Development

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through….Hyde Park!

Speaker’s Corner is a famed place for freedom of speech, where the good, the bad and the ugly have all enjoyed the freedom to speak openly about their passions, causes and beliefs.

On the very sunny Saturday just gone, LCID went down to hear Robin Hood and a Banker battle it out on soapboxes – cheered and jeered by a gang of merry men and women, in a flash-mob as part of a national day of action for the Robin Hood Tax campaign.

LCID backs the campaign and calls for all parties to support it. Supporters are calling for a tiny tax of 0.05% on banking transactions, with the resulting funds spent on aid for poverty both at home and abroad and climate change adaptation funding for developing countries.

In the first Gordon Brown on the Road event we attended last week, the Prime Minister spoke of the responsibility the financial sector has in overcoming the economic crisis. The Robin Hood Tax offers part of that solution and can help lift millions out of unnecessary poverty.

Show your support for the Robin Hood tax campaign by taking action on the website.

By Serena O’Sullivan

LCID attends Rankin exhibition at 10 Downing Street

David and I were delighted that LCID were invited to 10 Downing Street to look at an exhibition by the photographer Rankin on his pictures from the DRC. The event was attended by charities, NGOs and publications looking to write a piece with a development slant. It was great to meet everyone and get a chance to spread the word about LCID.

The exhibition itself was incredibly exciting and innovative. The photographs were mainly portraits of locals from a villiage which had recently quadrupled in population. I found it refreshing to see a different kind of Africa represented through these portait pictures. All too often we are shown the pain, devestation and famine rather than the hope, laughter and love. The pictures themselves comprised of mothers and children, lovers and friends. I got a real sense of community from the story the pictures told.

After wondering around the exhibition for a while it was time for the speeches. First Gordon Brown spoke about how important it was to to shine a light on the problems in the DRC, and congratulated Rankin on his exhibition. Then Rankin spoke about how he had gone to Oxfam wanting to do something, but not really sure what. They gave him a list of five countries he could visit to photograph. Explaining that he loved an underdog he chose the DRC which was bottom of their list! The first time he went he took many of the portrait photographs which were on display. He told a great story of when he was coming to the end of his trip he showcased the pictures he had taken in the middle of the camp. Thousands of people turned up to look at the pictures, with many demanding he take their picture! What ensued involved Rankin lining up everyone in a circle round the camp and taking group shots as he moved down the line. Back in Britain he showcased his pictures and raised over £1 million pounds, which is just astounding. It also inspired him to go back a second time.

When Rankin returned he came armed with over 200 disposable cameras which he gave to the people of the villiage to use. These photographs were also displayed at Downing Street, and were my favourite ones by far! Rankin explained that a lot of the people had never used a camera before, and he had a lot of fun teaching them how.

I found Rankin’s story compelling and felt very inspired by his exploits. The last speech came from Barbara, head of Oxfam, who thanked Rankin for his work and explained there was still much to do in the DRC.

The event ended with everyone being given a copy of Rankin’s book showcasing his pictures from the DRC entitled ‘Congo Family Album’. I even managed to get him to sign mine and dedicate it to LCID. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the exhibition and felt happy to have seen the DRC in such a positive light.

If you want to read more about Rankin’s time in the DRC please visit the Oxfam website.

By Holly Mitchell