Despite exploitation, we keep buying.

Despite exploitation, we keep buying.

The international clothing industry is worth an estimated $3 trillion and employs millions of people across the world. Here, Anja Nielsen outlines the exploitative conditions that lie behind much of the industry, and offers a potential solution in light of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Many of us, knowingly or unknowingly, will at this very moment be garbed in clothing made by people from Indonesia, Thailand, and China. And that’s okay. In fact, as major industries in all three countries (as well as many others in the Global South), it borders on the inevitable. What isn’t okay is that these people do not enjoy the same working conditions, security, and Human Rights as workers in other sectors or countries. What really isn’t okay is that we know that, and we keep buying.

Marissaorton/Creative commons license
Marissaorton/Creative commons license

The daily conditions of workers are often appalling. Verbal and physical abuse, dirty drinking water and harassment continue in places such as Bangladesh, where the garment industry provides four million jobs. Many workers receive impossibly low wages, and even those who earn minimum wage do not earn a living wage. And we keep buying.

The issues, unfortunately, extend beyond the working age population (defined in the UK between 16 and 64); children are not immune to these conditions. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has defined ‘hazardous child labour’ as ‘work in dangerous or unhealthy conditions that could result in a child being killed, or injured and/or made ill as a consequence of poor safety and health standards and working arrangements.’ Sadly, in fact devastatingly, the ILO has identified that more than 115 million children work in such conditions, ‘in sectors as diverse as agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, service industries, hotels, bars, restaurants, fast food establishments, and domestic service.’ These are the daily conditions of millions of children. And we keep buying.

Appalling conditions are not the only devastation that exploitation in industry causes. You may recall the tragedy that happened in Bangladesh in May 2013, when 1100 individuals lost their lives, and 2000 more were injured, in a garment factory collapse. That same year, three workers in a trainer factory in Cambodia died when the floor collapsed. A further six were injured. More recently, in 2015 a tannery in Tamil Nadu, India saw a wall collapse that drowned ten workers in ‘toxic sludge’. And we keep buying.

We keep buying in the face of these facts, in the face of our reality, and in the face of the many organisations that campaign for the rights of those employed in the garment industry. Human Rights Watch, Labour Behind the Labour, and the International Labour Organisation are just a few of the groups that work hard to educate those who implicitly perpetuate this cycle of abuse.

It is tempting to simply throw in the proverbial towel and fall back on the excuse of inevitability. And perhaps, for this generation, it may indeed be the reality we have chosen. But the next generation does not have the same force of habit, yet, and that is how we could begin to address this massive global inequality. Despite exploitation we keep buying – but they don’t have to.

Education is so often cited as the key to change, and this case is no different. By educating young people right from their first comprehension that all children and all people are the same and deserve the same rights, the pattern can change. If a child in Florida understands that their

United Nations Photo/Creative commons license
United Nations Photo/Creative commons license

Anna and Elsa dolls were made by a child like them or a mother like theirs, and that those individuals will never have the chance to play with Anna and Elsa dolls because of their working conditions, it seems feasible, even inevitable, that they will question the supply chains of their toys. And from toys, they will question clothing, and from clothing – everything. This is one way we can finally begin to address the appalling inequality of the global supply chains.

In the next 15 years as the Sustainable Development Goals are pursued, we have a ready-made platform through which to teach young people that all global citizens, no matter who they are, where they were born, or what language they speak, deserve to live a happy and healthy life. The world should not miss this opportunity to change a dynamic that sees millions of people subjected to unfair working conditions, perpetuated by the ignorance of others. By using the SDGs as a catalyst for change and educating young people about the truth behind present supply chains, we can shift the narrative. Because we may keep buying, but they don’t have to.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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A Generation without Education

A Generation without Education

Can we live up to the promise of an education for all the children of world? Lisa Advani explores the choice between increasing spending on education in emergencies or turning a blind eye to a generation without education.

Last year governments around the world made a significant promise to all the world’s children. In adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they pledged that by 2030 all girls and boys would complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education. However, the world is on course to fall short of achieving that goal.

Rising numbers of emergencies and protracted crises around the world are one of the biggest challenges to ratifying that goal. In 2015, nearly 75 million children and young persons (3-18 years old) across 35 crisis-affected countries had their education disrupted.  Nearly one in three children out of school today is living in a crisis-affected country. For the youngest children, conflict and crisis means schooling never begins. For others, their education is permanently interrupted. With each successive year of education lost, the human, social and economic costs rise exponentially.

Hdptcar / Creative Commons License
Hdptcar / Creative Commons License

Though the number of children and young persons affected by emergencies or crisis is reaching an all-time high, financing for education in emergencies is insufficient. The current aid architecture is under-resourced and thus unable to support countries in fulfilling the right to education for millions of crisis-affected children. In 2015, less than 2% of humanitarian funding has been allocated to education. Governments need an extra $8.5 million a year to close this considerable funding gap.

A number of factors contribute to the interruption of education services during crises.  Despite being prioritized by children and their families, education in emergencies is not a priority consideration and often neglected in relief operations. In many of the cases where education is provided, there is a lack of coordination between the governments, humanitarian and development actors who all have different mandates.  In many places, there is inadequate capacity to provide education in emergencies. There are few teachers skilled in crisis response and international actors often provide short-term deployments due to funding uncertainties.

Recently there has been growing interest from new and established donors to explore joint and innovative mechanisms to finance education in crisis, including in the work of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.

The Education Cannot Wait Fund was launched by Gordon Brown, U.N Special Envoy for Global Education at the World Humanitarian Summit in May this year, to address the global education crisis. The fund aims to provide education to the 75 million children worldwide that are now living in conflict zones and fragile states.

The Open University/Creative Commons License
The Open University/Creative Commons License

The fund takes a collaborative approach in joining up humanitarian and private sector efforts, and has drawn together the United Nations, national governments, international and local nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. By bringing together public and private partners, the fund aims to leverage additional finance and catalyse new approaches to funding and innovation to deliver education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The goal is for the initiative to reach full funding of $4 billion within five years, starting with a $150 million goal in 2016. So far, $90 million has been pledged for the first year.

The Education Cannot Wait Fund will provide flexible and lengthy grants to eligible crises that include:

  • Natural disasters that trigger formal humanitarian system responses
  • Protracted crises that pose a risk to access to education
  • Crises with large-scale displacement with affected host populations
  • Crises that occur in low-income countries, as well as those in middle-income countries that have limited resource for financing and appropriate response

Comprised of an Acceleration Facility, focused on investing in existing actors to improve education response, and a Breakthrough Fund, which will support both rapid and multi-year country level engagement, the Fund has five main functions:

  • Inspire political commitment
  • Joint planning and response
  • Generate and disburse new funding
  • Strengthen capacity
  • Improve accountability

The world faces a choice, one that must be made collectively: Should we spend more now on education in emergencies, or pay the price of a generation without education who will someday be inadequately equipped to rebuild their shattered societies? It is difficult to think of an outcome further removed from the SDG promise of free, equitable and quality education made to all the world’s children.

 


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Unpacking the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Pledge that “No One will be Left Behind”

Unpacking the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Pledge that “No One will be Left Behind”

The newly released Sustainable Development Goals mark a turning point in the development trajectory. Here, Zoe Nutter problematises the links between changes in discourse and policy implementation.

UN Member States recently approved a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a “universal Agenda”. These goals were initially adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at the UN Sustainable Development Summit and seek to redress the failures of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Resolution adopted by the General Assemble calls for “bold and transformative steps” in order to shift global trends and embark on a “collective journey” – one in which “no one will be left behind”. And the means required for implementation involve a “revitalized” Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, focused particularly on “the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable”. Still, it is not entirely clear what will change in practice. The grave and controversial disconnect between official policy and effective implementation is of primary concern. Any goal concerning the reduction of inequality will prove a farce if the “unwavering commitment to economic growth” is not supplemented by the resolve to redistribute “gross global and national inequalities in wealth and income”.

The SDGs aim to realise the human rights of all, achieve gender equality and promote the empowerment of all women and girls through a balanced approach, rooted in the principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability. There is a pledged commitment to “all human beings”, such that they can “fulfill their potential in dignity and equality” – “in a healthy environment”. For the purposes of this brief critique, I will focus on Goal 5: the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, and Goal 17: the strengthening of the means of implementation, as well as the revitalisation of the global partnership for sustainable development built upon “principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre”. Oxfam and like-minded groups insist, it is crucial to unpack the ways in which associated groups will effectuate their like-minded strategies in a way that is unambiguously rooted in a comprehensive understanding of women’s human rights.

UN Women / Creative Commons License
UN Women / Creative Commons License

Clearly, one of the most important aspects for the implementation of this Agenda is to address “structural barriers to women’s economic participation”. This has been echoed by the World Bank Group (WBG), which released its very own gender strategy for 2016-2023 – entitled “Gender equality, poverty reduction and inclusive growth” – in December of last year. The key issue is to correct “uneven” progress among “least developed countries”, where the Millennium Development Goals failed to achieve an impact that extended to “the most vulnerable” – principally, women. The UK Gender and Development Network has been particularly critical of the Bank’s lack of strong systems of accountability to ensure that their work is transparent and the International Planned Parenthood Federation has consistently urged the Bank “to balance what can feel like an instrumentalist approach to women’s contribution to economic growth and poverty alleviation”. Admitting that not all pathways to growth promote gender equality marks a promising step in the right direction. Economic growth is a “gendered process”.

Of equal importance is the need to “mobilize, redirect and unlock”, what is described under Goal 17 as, “the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources”. This involves long-term investments – most notably, foreign direct investment (FDI) – in critical sectors, such as sustainable energy, infrastructure and transport, as well as information and communications technologies. Governments are required to set a clear direction: change must involve both regulations and incentive structures that simultaneously attract FDI and reinforce sustainable development. And yet, in the wake of this new Agenda, it is undetermined whether enough attention has been directed to what Oxfam describes as the “flawed system of measuring development impacts of financial intermediary lending”. Even the WBG’s Independent Evaluation Group has criticised this system based on “proxy figures” as one in which there is limited knowledge about the underlying impacts on end-beneficiaries.

World Bank Photo Collection / Creative Commons License
World Bank Photo Collection / Creative Commons License

The WBG is a longstanding partner of the UN. Given that official development assistance stood at $135.2bn in 2014 and that the International Finance Corporation alone invested $36bn in financial intermediaries in the four years leading up to June 2013, the WBG’s development strategies should be closely evaluated and adequately restructured. Development finance institutions’ overall commitment to the private sector reached $67.9bn in 2013 – roughly half of total ODA in the same year. Their involvement is “rapidly accelerating”. Investments in the financial sector significantly outstrip the WBG’s lending to essential social sectors: averaging about 50% more than direct lending to health and three times the sum lent directly to education during the same period. It is necessary to determine whether they are able to successfully implement a “comprehensive results and reporting framework” – whether they can effectively rectify the disconnect between global policy and priorities and what is happening in specific country programs. If this does not happen, the failures of the MDGs will persist: progress will be uneven and women will suffer. Furthermore, any policy recommendations that neglect the ways in which “gender inequality is not only weakened but also recreated and sustained by capitalist development” will be dubious.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Why the next election will determine the future of the USA in world politics

Why the next election will determine the future of the USA in world politics

Two weeks ago the Republican Party hosted its second Presidential candidate Debate at the Regan Presidential Library. Whilst the debate touched on many important areas, the question of international development, and the United States role in humanitarian aid, and bilateral and multilateral development strategies was largely ignored. Here, William Kennedy discusses the different directions which may be taken regarding Foreign Aid and International Development as a result of next year’s General Election in the United States.

Foreign policy, with the exception of each candidate claiming they would be quickest to dear up the Iran nuclear deal, was rather a sideshow than a main topic. Foreign aid and international development were relegated to largely obsolete in the debate, a trend which has been carried forward from previous presidential cycles.

DonkeyHotey /Creative Commons License
DonkeyHotey/Creative Commons License

 

The major differences on foreign aid is spread not only between the two competing parties, but also between competing candidates in the same party. The surprisingly broad range of views between candidates shows a real divide, especially in the Republican Party, about how the United States should proceed with International development, in a world where the Sustainable Development Goals has broadened the horizon and scope of the international development agenda.

Donald Trump has been leading the pools for the Republican Party for many weeks now, and has championed US business, and sees developing nations as a threat to the US economy and jobs. In the past, Trump has continually argued for a decrease in America’s foreign aid budget, and the sending of aid to countries whom he does not identify as ‘friendly’. Whilst Mr. Trump has never been elected to office, so it is difficult to look at any concrete policy positions he may hold, he has in the past repeatedly attacked international organisations such as the World Bank for pushing climate change programmes and green energy as a way of helping alleviate poverty and climate effects on much of the development world.

This reduction to foreign aid is taken one step further by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who has called for the eventual elimination of foreign aid, to all countries. Mr. Paul told CNN last year that ‘Ultimately, I think a country that’s $18 trillion in debt should not be borrowing money from China to send it to anyone’. In fact in a budget proposal in 2011, Paul recommended a straightforward solution to America’s debt burden, by ‘eliminating all international assistance’.

These are not accepted views, (thankfully), in the Republican Party. Other presidential candidates, such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee have all come out and backed, to different extents, the United States pro-development agenda. Going back to the last Presidential campaign in 2012, Huckabee railed against conservative shot sightedness on foreign aid cuts. He went on to stress that foreign aid was not only a strategic tool for the US to wield on the global stage, but that US ‘Christian principles’ made her bound to help developing nations. Huckabee implored that:

The simple reality is that every time America is making its presence known in any government across the world, it will be far more effective when it delivers bread than when it delivers bombs. And the next thing I think we ought to do, if we are the Christians we claim to be, is to want to make sure that we do not turn our backs on the suffering we see’.

This view that the US should be pushing for engagement and diplomacy with the developing world was crucial for future prosperity for both sides is further reinforced by candidates such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio. In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute back in 2013, the young senator proclaimed; ‘In most cases, the decisive use of diplomacy, foreign assistance and economic power are the most effective ways to achieve our interests and stop problems before they spiral into crises’.

Other prominent candidates in the Republican field, such as Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Chris Christie have yet to outline their vision for US international development plans, and have instead focused on domestic issues, which are more likely to catch the attention of the would be voter.

In the Democratic Party, the competition for nomination, barring any unexpected event, or the introduction of Vice President Joe Biden into the race, will likely see a two horse race against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and veteran Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders. The Democratic Party has a long tradition in implementing novel and ground breaking foreign aid initiatives, from President Kennedy establishing the Peace Corps to Jimmy Carter placing greater emphasis on the role of ‘Human Rights’ in the US government’s foreign policy and international development

Hilary Clinton’s commitment to aid has been unwavering in the best few decades. The Clinton foundation has recently been at the forefront of pushing women’s rights and education in the developing world through its No Ceilings project. The project is ‘convening global partners to build a data driven evaluation of the progress girls and women have made and the challenges to help chart the path forward to full participation in the 21st century’. Other initiatives that have been driven by the Clinton foundation include the support for local business after the Haiti earthquake and global initiatives such as the commitment to help eliminate avoidable blindness.

As a 30 year sitting senator, Bernie Sanders has voted on a raft of legislation concerning foreign aid and assistance and has voted in favour of the HR 5501 Bill, which was a $48 billion global fund for helping countries with HIV/AIDS, Malaria and tuberculosis. He also, in 2001, co-sponsored the Harvest for Hunger Bill, which aimed to reserve famine in Sub-Saharan Africa by supporting various relief strategies for a period of 10 years.

Foreign Aid or international development is never going to be a top tier issue that grabs national headlines in the race to be president. US politics is far too concerned with personalities and soundbites, especially when the election is a year away, to properly concentrate on important, concrete topics as well as a tendency to resort to isolationism when the going gets tough. However, with a host of different opinions, from a wide range of candidates, the topic of foreign aid is one of the most opinionated, and may well likely play a role in future debates, especially if Donald Trump keeps his polling momentum. On the left, a Clinton or Sanders presidency will likely see more importance being placed on international development in the coming years.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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The Youth Summit: DFID assert youths will “make or break” the success of the SDGs

The Youth Summit: DFID assert youths will “make or break” the success of the SDGs

On September 12, London saw thousands of protestors marching towards Parliament over the refugee crisis, demanding Mr. Cameron to open UK borders on the grounds of humanity. Anahita Hossein-Pour heard the protestors that day from the other side of the fence, attending the UK’s Department of International Development’s (DFID) Youth Summit in Whitehall. Here she investiagtes the importance of young people in the formation and success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The development summit’s agenda seemed all the more important in the context of the tragedies that had been occurring the last few months, as the impact of the Syrian Civil War has caught attention from all eyes across the globe. The SDGs assertion to leave no-one behind will be heavily tested when war and conflict continues to set back societies for decades- and that’s where the calibre of youths come in.

Asian Development Bank /Creative Commons License
Asian Development Bank /Creative Commons License

 

For the International Citizen Service (ICS) alumni attending the Youth Summit that day, amongst the entertainment of the Pandemonium Drummers, the various speakers and NGO led workshops, DFID’s message was loud and clear: young people are an intrinsic part to successful development. Secretary of State Justine Greening said in the summit’s opening plenary, young people will “make or break” the successful delivery of the SDGs. Ms. Greening promised to carry the views expressed at the Youth Summit to the United Nations, and earmarked this statement with the announcement that two young people will be joining the UK delegation to the United Nations post-2015 Development Summit.

Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon delivered a personal video message, calling upon delegates for their “energy, ideas and initiatives” to push governments to fulfil their commitments and be the “torch bearers of the future we want.”

In the creation of the 17 targets, youths across the world voiced their priorities and concerns, explaining the formal up take of certain targets such as goal 16- to promote peaceful and inclusive societies. At the Youth Summit, goal 16 for peace and goal five for gender equality were the two favourites when I asked various ICS delegates which SDG was the most important in their eyes. For one delegate who favoured gender equality, she made an interesting point that climate change cannot be stopped, but you can mobilise the whole world who can make a difference. The Secretary of State also described gender inequality as the “greatest unmet human challenge”.

So whilst youths are perceived as being agents for change, they are also amongst the most affected groups when faced with shortfalls in education, nutrition, environment and all other aspects the SDGs are trying to improve. According to the UN Population Fund, 1.8 billion people are aged between 10 and 24, and 90% of them live in least developed countries. 50% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 30. Youths are the future for all societies and so DFID is right to place them at the heart of their agenda in all aspects of the development process.

The question is, how will DFID follow up on their Youth Summit statement? Will they really “pull young people into the department” as Ms Greening said? What struck me throughout the conference was the emphasis on getting involved in the “conversation”- how, where and what that means appears yet to be explained.

Jessica Lea/DFID/Creative Commons License
Jessica Lea/DFID/Creative Commons License

 

Certainly the summit was alive with enthusiasm and energy from all participants, the #Youth4Change movement, as well as ONE, Restless Development, World Vision, and other NGOs and activists all brought their experiences and ideas to the near 300 crowd to inspire them to make change happen. Many of the ICS delegates were highly motivated, dedicated individuals to the causes they themselves experienced on their projects abroad in developing countries.

One delegate, Pippa told me how her ICS project in South Africa has driven her to make a career change from accountancy, to working in an NGO- maybe even Skillshare International who co-ordinated her project. With that however, was the understanding of the competitive, long drawn out process and low pay that the International Development career route currently has to offer newcomers to the industry. Although that view was not shared by all. A member of the Youth Summit’s Youth Panel told me how being an ICS alumni member has opened doors for her to get further involved in International Development, with increasing opportunities with ICS, NCS and NGOs.

It was a shame Whitehall’s logistics meant only a small number of young people were able to attend the summit, and that the event only reached out to the government funded programme’s alumni. For certain many more youths outside government networks would relish the opportunity to take part in helping create our post-2015 world. The summit asserted such a strong sentiment that DFID is undergoing fundamental change to include youths, and valuing their role they have to play in our futures. The next step will be to witness actions speaking louder than words, and with the Secretary of State ending the summit on a note to “watch this space,” we should all intend to do exactly that and follow up if this ‘space’ is not filled with action.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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World AIDS Day: HIV and post-2015 development

World AIDS Day: HIV and post-2015 development

The 1st of December marks World AIDS Day. On this occasion, Lydia Greenaway offers some thoughts on combating the disease, the Millennium Development Goals, and the post-2015 agenda.

Today is World AIDS Day, a day that aims to increase awareness, celebrate progress and bring people together in a global movement. This month also draws us closer to 2015, a year of opportunity for development, as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to a close and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) take the stage.

In 2000, AIDS gained a central place in the development framework, as a primary focus of MDG 6, to ‘combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases’. Buoyed by activism and community involvement to hold leaders to account, this political commitment helped push AIDS to the top of the health agenda, enabling significant achievements over the last decade and a half. Since 2001, new HIV infections have fallen by 38% and new HIV infections among children have fallen by 58%. Since 2005, AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 35%, and 13.6 million people living with HIV now have access to life-saving anti-retroviral therapy.

©NORAD/Creative Commons license
©NORAD/Creative Commons license

Despite this progress and hope, however, challenges remain. As we head towards a new development era, it is clear that the agenda is becoming increasingly crowded and complex. This year, after a feat of consultative processes, the Open Working Group, a UN Member State body mandated at Rio+20, released its proposal for the SDGs. The Group proposes 17 goals, a substantial step up from the 8 MDGs. Under these goals are a total of 169 targets, spanning social, economic and environmental issues, as well as implementation, data collection and accountability. Furthermore, the SDGs are universally applicable, to be met in all countries. This vastly increased scope is likely to change the structure and dynamics of development over the next decade.

Ensuring that AIDS is not lost in this new framework is imperative. AIDS currently features as a target under the health goal: ‘by 2030, end the epidemic of AIDS’. This is a feasible target, but the agenda must look beyond AIDS as merely a health issue. Acknowledging the social and political determinants of the disease is a primary step to addressing health inequities. Failing to centrally position issues of equality, gender and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the post-2015 agenda could put the AIDS target at risk.

Despite increased awareness about transmission, 2.1 million people were newly infected by HIV in 2013. Furthermore, AIDS disproportionately affects women and young people. Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to contract HIV as young men and AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Worldwide, one young person is infected with HIV every 14 seconds and less than 30% of young people in sub-Saharan Africa have the knowledge to protect themselves from infection. Deep-rooted social and legal barriers to information and access still remain, affecting key populations, including LGBT+, drug users, sex workers, migrants and refugees. For example, same-sex sexual acts are criminalized in 78 countries and punishable by death in seven, while 38 countries, territories and areas restrict entry, stay or residence to people living with HIV.

©Blatant World/Creative Commons license
©Blatant World/Creative Commons license

So, does the current SDG proposal go far enough in its ambitions on AIDS? Moreover, how can young people in the UK get involved in ensuring that AIDS remains a priority in the post-2015 era? One of the key demands from young people is the promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive rights, a contested issue and notable omission from the OWG proposal. Sexual and reproductive rights are difficult to define, but broadly constitute control over one’s own body, sexual health and sexuality, and the right to autonomy and consent. This includes the right to sexual education, LGBT+ rights and the right to contraception. Poor access to comprehensive sexual education and rights over the body and sexual choices pose major health threats to young people the world over.

PACT, a collaboration of 25 youth organizations, together with UNAIDS, launched ACT 2015 in November 2013, an initiative aiming to mobilize a movement to ensure that strong HIV and SRHR targets are included in the post-2015 framework. Over the next year, they will be uniting young people in various ways, including a global day of action, to garner political commitment to HIV, SRHR and social justice. The AIDS movement needs young people as much as young people need it, to question the status quo, challenge social norms and push through an ambitious post-2015 agenda. ACT 2015 is a great way to participate and as a youth-led charity, DiA is always working to raise awareness amongst young people, so watch this space. In the meantime, you can get involved by ensuring you’re informed and aware, joining the Youth Voices online platform and lobbying your MP to make a strong, youth-friendly post-2015 agenda a priority for the year ahead. You can also head over to My World 2015 to cast your own vote on the issues that matter to you.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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