VSO volunteers and other supporters of the 0.7% aid target meeting parliamentarians today

Parliament passes 0.7 aid bill

Yesterday the UK Parliament took the historic step to enshrine the commitment to spending 0.7 of our Gross National Income on international development into law. 

This fulfilled the cross party promise that all three parties made ahead of the last general election, and the coalition governments commitment made in 2010. 

Legislating on 0.7 will help countries to better plan their economies as they move towards sustainable development. Fluctuating aid budgets impact on the quality of services in hospitals, schools and other key public services- as our volunteers and partners see every day.

It will also shift the emphasis away from political debates about how much we should be spending to look at where and how it should be spent, ensuring that we maximise the effectiveness of our development aid, whether that is on responding to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, or working with rural women in Papua New Guinea to help them fight gender based violence.

We know that development isn’t, and shouldn’t just be about aid. We need a joined up approach to development which goes beyond aid to look at a wide range of underlying causes and drivers of poverty including trade and tax.  But we know, also, that there remains a deep need for aid, and it works- UK aid saves a life every two minutes. In the past year, UK aid has helped over 10 million children go to school, and ensured that 3.6 million births took place safely with the help of nurses, midwives or doctors.

It is not often that we can say that we helped change the law, but this week we did. Thank you to all the volunteers who supported us, and all the politicians from all political parties who kept their promises to the world’s poorest people.

VSO was part of a coalition of NGOs supporting this legislation called 'Turn Up, Save lives' - you can read more about the campaign here: http://www.turnupsavelives.org.uk/

Latest posts

A woman using a sewing machine to make face masks
©VSO

Volunteer field reports from a global pandemic

With most VSO volunteers staying in placement to help tackle COVID-19, three of them share first-hand perspectives on what they are seeing on the ground now.

James Russell works at his laptop from his placement accommodation in Surkhet, Nepal.
©James Russell

Meet the volunteers fighting poverty from their living rooms

Remote working? You’re not the only one! More than 40 international VSO volunteers are giving online support to projects around the world, despite having had to return home because of COVID-19.

cambodia school girls stood at desks with their hands in the air
Thomas Roos / VSO

Kids stuck at home? Advice from a VSO volunteer teacher

Education volunteer Mary Watkins shares practical tips to learn from the pragmatism and ingenuity of these teachers in the world's poorest communities.