“0.7%” refers to the repeated commitment of the world’s governments to commit 0.7% of rich-countries’ gross national product (GNP) to Official Development Assistance. This figure was first pledged 35 years ago in a 1970 UN General Assembly Resolution.
Where does the figure “0.7%” come from?
I didn’t know, so I researched a bit and it seems that comes from Lester B. Pearson (PDF, 40KB), former Prime Minister of Canada, who in 1969 recommended that resources equivalent to a minimum of 1% of the GNP of developed nations should flow to developing countries.
This 1% would be made up of official development assistance, other official flows from the government, and private sector flows; the official development assistance component of the 1% commitment would be equivalent to 0.7% of GNP.
By 2005 only 5 countries of the OECD were meeting or exceeding the target: Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, not a surprise. The rest of them were well below, some even decreasing the assistance.
What can we do?
Since some years ago, I dedicate 0.7% of my personal net income to development aid. I make the calculation every year in January, when I have an idea of how much I pocketed the previous year.
I took sometime last weekend to make the calculation, research a little bit and direct the funds to the selected NGOs, which this year have been:
- Kiva: a micro lending portal, that I have talked about in the blog sometimes. I added some more funds.
- Médecins sans Frontières. Last year, I already donated some cash to the Spanish branch after the earthquake in Haiti; this year I’ve become member of the French one: as a friend who works in development assistance explained to me, this helps the NGO to plan their activities, rather than relying on occasional donations.
- Vittana: a micro lending portal specialized on credits for education purposes, very similar to Kiva in its conception. I learnt about it last year already and twitted about it, but it has been now the first time I used it.
- Ofxam: a well-known NGO working “to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice”.
- Anti-Slavery: an NGO which works to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world… incredible, “slavery” :-(.