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The 0.7% bill on international aid becomes law

In a historic move, the House of Lords has passed the 0.7% bill on international aid – protecting the UK Government’s pledge to help the world’s poorest communities. Our Campaigns Officer Rebecca Owen explains what it means for the future.

Blog

9 Mar 2015 | UK

At the end of last year, you did something amazing. You asked your MPs to #TurnUpSaveLives and helped us get the 0.7% law on international aid through three readings in Parliament and into the House of Lords.

Since then, we've been on tenterhooks waiting to find out what would happen next – and today, at 3:15pm, we got the truly good news: the 0.7% bill has been enshrined in law!

Protecting a 40-year-old promise

It's hard to overstate how significant this announcement is. The 0.7% bill was first pledged in a 1970 UN General Assembly Resolution and has been affirmed in many international agreements over the years.

Now the UK has given it the steely backing of law, our commitment to helping the world's poorest communities is protected from the uncertainties of party politics. And with this safeguard in place, we have three big reasons to look forward to the future.

  1. Credibility: the UK has set a fantastic precedent, showing the world that our 0.7% promise is not a one-off achievement but a robust commitment.
  2. Effectiveness: as a country, we can move the political debate on from how much we spend to how effectively we use the money we contribute towards development.
  3. Predictability: we can work with recipient countries to plan and implement development projects more effectively, without the risk of serious interruptions in funding.
Celebrating the 0.7 bill on international aid, March 2015.
Celebrations outside Parliament after the 0.7% bill was enshrined in law.
Photo: WaterAid

Together, these three things mean something truly momentous: more lives transformed and a better world for us all.

Your support will change lives

The other incredible thing we're celebrating today is your unwavering support for getting the 0.7% bill enshrined in law.

Those of you who have been following the bill's progress know it's been anything but a smooth journey. In fact, when I first emailed our supporters in September, I had little hope of it succeeding. But your commitment - and your willingness to email your MPs to ask them for their support - saw the bill make it through both its second and third reading in Parliament – helping to get us where we are today.

It’s a truly historic achievement, one that has reaffirmed my belief that, when we act together to make our voices heard, we really can achieve the seemingly impossible and change lives.

I can't thank you enough for helping to make this goal a reality. I hope you enjoy celebrating the success with us!

Want to do more? Find out more ways to campaign with us here >

Overseas aid saves lives

UK aid plays an important role in our work, and has helped us bring clean water and safe toilets to thousands of people. What we do transforms lives, helping babies 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.

Esther and her grandaughter Melody.

Esther

Esther (right) often went without bathing or ate only one meal a day, because she couldn't manage the 5km walk to the nearest water supply – until we brought safe, clean water to her village in Zambia.

Children from a local primary school learn how to wash their hands in clean water in Kaniche, Malawi.

The Big Dig Project

Through the Big Dig Project, we drilled new boreholes in some of the poorest communities in rural Malawi. As a result, 134,000 people now have access to safe, clean water – many for the very first time.

Ze, in Madagascar

Ze

12-year-old Ze had dropped out of school to care for her family of nine. But after we brought fresh water to her village, she was able to go back to school, and the time previously spent collecting water is now spent in the classroom.