0.7% aid commitment enshrined in law

9 Mar 2015

WaterAid today celebrates the UK government’s passing of the International Development Bill (Official Development Assistance Target) which enshrines in law the UK’s commitment to oversees aid.

The bill, which was included in all three party manifestos in 2010, sees the UK commit to continuing to spend 0.7% of its Gross National Income on overseas aid.

The Lords turned out in force today to ensure its passage through the house and the bill is expected to be signed into law by the Queen before the dissolution of parliament at the end of the month.

WaterAid has played a prominent role in the ‘Turn Up, Save Lives’ campaign, run in coalition with Bond, a membership organisation for 420 UK Relief and development charities, which successfully encouraged MPs to show up and vote in support of the bill last year.

Margaret Batty, Director of Global Policy and Campaigns, said:

“We welcome the vote which has seen MPs deliver on their campaign promises to enshrine our UK aid target into law. UK aid saves and changes lives every day and is critical in helping WaterAid to reach the 748 million people around the world without access to safe water and 2.5 billion who do not have the dignity of a basic, hygienic toilet.

“Enshrining this cross-party commitment into law ensures that British aid will be available for as long as it is needed to bring an end to extreme poverty around the world, and establishes the UK as a world leader in overseas aid”

First pledged 45 years ago in a 1970 UN General Assembly Resolution, the 0.7 target has been affirmed in many international agreements over the years.

Oversees Aid Saves Lives

UK aid plays an important role in WaterAid’s work abroad and has helped us bring water and sanitation access to thousands of people. Our work transforms lives by helping babies to survive through to childhood, enabling children to attend school and adults to have more time for income-generating work, making communities healthier and more productive, and helping in the fight against extreme poverty.

Here are just a few examples:

  • The Big Dig Project has been drilling new boreholes in some of the poorest communities in rural Malawi. 134,000 people now have access to safe, clean water – many for the very first time. The wells will have a profound impact on the health and quality of life of the people there, and ultimately, will save many lives.
  • Esther Cheelo’s life was changed forever the day WaterAid brought water to her village. A disabled grandmother from Zambia, Esther often went a month at a time without bathing or ate only one meal a day because she could not manage the 5km walk to the nearest water supply. Now that WaterAid has fitted a borehole in her village Esther says her life has been “completely transformed.”
  • 12 year old Ze had dropped out of school to care for her family of nine. Ze had to make the long trek for water up to five times a day in order to keep her family and siblings from going thirsty, so there was simply no time left for her to study. But after WaterAid brought fresh water to her village for the first time her entire life changed. She is now back in school, and the time previously spent collecting water and doing household chores is now spent in the classroom learning new skills, playing with friends, and dreaming up plans for the future.

Click here for photos and case studies  > 

WaterAid is part of action/2015, a global movement of 1,200 organisations in 125 countries working to ensure a better future for people and our planet in this transformative year for tackling poverty, inequality and climate change.

Click here for  photos of MPs and WaterAid supporters during our ‘Turn Up, Save Lives’ campaign  > 


Notes to Editors

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 26 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 21 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 18 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook.

  • Around 1,400 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
  • 748 million people are without safe water, or one in 10 in the world.
  • 2.5 billion people are without adequate sanitation, or 39% of the world's population.

For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Carolynne Wheeler, media officer, or Lucy Prioli on 0207 793 5081 or Fiona Callister, media relations lead on 0207 793 5022. Or call our after-hours press line on 07887 521 552.