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Brighton to Palestine – 21 May

On Thursday 21 May there will be a day of Palestinian events as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe.

At the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton – a 5 minute walk from Brighton station.

The daytime events and activities include an exhibition, play and films, and are free:

At 11.30 and 2pm the play 7 Jewish children will be performed – it lasts about 10 minutes;

From 2 to 4 pm, Sarah Wood, film maker, will be there to present the films and discuss them.

Reasonably priced Palestinian food will be served from about 5.30 to 7pm.

There will be Fairtrade Palestinian goods for sale.

At 7.30 there will be a concert, cost £10, concesions £7.00, with music and songs. Brigthon festival poster

Mayor visits stall

The mayor of Sutton, Cllr Sean Brennan, stopped by at Sutton for Peace and Justice stall at the Environmental Fair in Carshalton Park. Cllr Brennan is pictured below at the stall with Mike Cooper, chair of Sutton for Peace and Justice.

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48 Hours to G8

The G8 summit meets in Northern Ireland on Monday. So the next 48 hours are crucial if we are to get world leaders to take real action to end world hunger.

The IF campaign is urging supporters to make sure David Cameron goes to the summit with the demand for action  ‘ringing in his ears’.

For more information, click here.

The Big IF London event

The Big IF London event will take place on Saturday 8 June at 2.00pm in Hyde Park, London.

The event will begin IF’s 10-day campaign leading up to the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland. And coincides with David Cameron is hosting an international Hunger Summit in London on June 8, a huge opportunity to tackle hunger and save millions of lives.

Organisers want thousands of people to come together for the Big IF event in London to raise their voices against the scandal that one in eight people across the world  do not have enough food, even though we know there is enough food for everyone. IF we make enough noise, G8 leaders will have to act.

At the event the crowd will work together to create an iconic image of support for tackling hunger, created with spinning flowers, to form a powerful reminder of the two million children whose lives are lost because of hunger each year.

The main event starts at 2.00pm. However, if you want to add your spinning flower to the epic image, you can do this from 10.00am.

In addition, there will be an ecumenical service at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, at 11 am, prior to a march to Hyde Park.

If campaign – letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

I was delighted by your words on You-tube regards the IF campaign, when you said: “I welcome the NGO campaign on food”, and went on to say: “I’m determined that this coalition government will listen to their (NGO supporters’) passion and lead the world.” And: “We need to tackle the root causes of hunger not just the symptoms.”

Inspiring words indeed which you followed with: “We’re going to be taking action to promote transparency in extractive industries so the wealth of developing countries is used to tackle hunger and poverty and not stolen by a corrupt elite.”

Then finally I heard you say: “We’ll work to ensure that everyone pays the tax they owe and we’ll promote trade to spur growth and wealth creation.”

Although you only spoke for a few minutes what you said was very encouraging and gave a strong impression that you and your government are right behind the IF campaign. In fact what the IF campaign is asking for is very precise and also extensive. So I feel bound to ask, as many people would be very disappointed to know otherwise, whether you have accepted what IF is asking for in its entirety or not.

It would also be very helpful to know, once the G8 has completed its meetings, where you believe progress on the IF requests has been made and where it has not.

I look forward to hearing from you.

David Murray.

Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign

What IF’s supporters want the UK Government to do about aid

  • The UK Government must deliver on its commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid from 2013 & introduce legislation on this issue either before or in the Queen’s Speech.
  • Through its presidency of the G8 in 2013, the UK should put pressure on the rest of the G8 & other rich nations to put more life-saving aid into sustainable small-scale agriculture & nutrition, building upon the agreement made at the 2012 G8 summit.
  • The UK & other rich countries should take major steps towards contributing their fair share of the $21.3 billion required to fill the gap in agriculture funding & to reach the $5 billion needed to pay for action on nutrition. This would collectively save more than 1 million lives every year.
  • Dealing with the effects of climate change in developing countries is vital, as it has a direct impact on food production. Developed countries have committed to deliver $100 billion by 2020 to help the developing world tackle & adapt to climate change, but meeting that target will be difficult. The UK Government must therefore take a lead in pushing for a global agreement on raising climate finances from new sources – in particular from a proposed tax on shipping fuels.

What we want the UK Government to do about land

  • The UK Government should put the issue of large-scale corporate ‘land grabs’ in developing countries on the G8’s agenda & promote action to help improve their governance, transparency & accountability. There must be safeguards to ensure that the poorest people, who could often use this land to grow food, don’t lose out as a result.
  • The World Bank should be pushed to review the impact of its funding of land acquisitions on communities & the environment & to change its policies to ensure they prevent land grabs.
  • As part of the ongoing re-negotiation of EU biofuel legislation, the UK should lobby so that no biofuels grown on land that could have been used to grow food should count towards the EU’s 10% renewable energy in transport target. The land required to grow crops in order to meet this target has led to a rising number of large-scale land grabs & an increase in food prices.
  • The UK Government should take a lead on biofuels by scrapping its own target, which states that 5% of transport fuel must come from biofuels by 2013.
  • The UK should lobby the EU to recognise in law the true extent of damaging carbon emissions caused by biofuel production, as well as the impact that biofuels have on food prices & land rights.

What we want the UK Government to do about tax

  • The UK Government should help ensure that developing countries can raise enough from taxes to tackle hunger & build a more secure food system by introducing a requirement in its Finance Bill for UK companies & wealthy individuals to report their use of tax schemes that have an impact on developing countries.
  • When such tax schemes are identified, the UK should use its current powers to notify the tax authorities of developing countries & assist in the recovery of the money they’re owed.
  • The UK should use its presidency of the G8 to launch a Convention on Tax Transparency. Under this Convention, countries would commit to preventing individuals & companies from hiding wealth so that it’s untraceable, tax havens would be required to share with developing countries any important information on hidden wealth & assets & developing countries would receive assistance in recovering taxes due to them.

What we want the UK Government to do about transparency

  • The UK Government should use its presidency of the G8 to push for greater transparency in land acquisitions, to ensure that corrupt deals are stopped & that people have the information they need to hold governments & companies to account.
  • The UK Government should support greater financial transparency from governments of developing countries, so that citizens in these countries can hold their governments to account for the money they spend.
  • The UK Government should promote greater participation by citizens in budget decision-making in G8 countries, with other nations encouraged to do the same. There should be a global agreement on publishing a full breakdown of all government income & spending in a way that’s understandable & accessible to the public.
  • The UK Government should improve corporate transparency, so that companies can be held to account by investors & the public for their actions in the food system. Under UK law, companies should be required to report on the full environmental, social & human rights impact of their business. The UK should also push for similar legislation in the EU.

Sutton for Peace and Justice is supporting the If Campaign. Further updates will be appearing on this website.

The UK Food Campaign 2013

At least 65 NGOs are now signed up to the ‘Enough food IF’ campaign campaign that will be launched on 23rd January. The campaign aims to ensure everyone has a fair share of all the goods in the world, inform people about poverty and help them understand its real causes.

Some food facts

  • Around 70% of world’s food is consumed by the 23% in the rich world, leaving only 30% for the 77% who live in the poor world.
  • 1 in 8 people (870 million) don’t ever have enough food.
  • In developing countries people spend up to 70% of income on food compared to 10-20% in UK.
  • Between 1983 and 2006 agricultural aid to poor world reduced by 77% – now improved slightly but to not to previous level.
  • Agricultural subsidies in the rich world distort the food market and destroy local agriculture.
  • Small scale farmers grow 80% Africa’s food but account for half of world’s hungry people unable to grow/buy enough to satisfy their needs.
  • Over 1 million Africans earn their living by growing food for UK.
  • In the UK 76% of groceries are sold by 4 major supermarkets.
  • Fewer than 100 companies control 70% of world food supply.
  • Across the world 1/3 of food is wasted, mainly through storage problems.  In UK we throw away 3.6 million tons of food a year – because cheap food is unvalued. In the industrialised countries we waste more food than is produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Climate change will affect poor world food production more than the rich world, as more marginal land is used in poor world.

Some food myths

We have myths about food to avoid facing up to our greed and selfishness.

  • Disasters like War or droughts are the reason for people being hungry; but over 90% of hungry people cannot obtain enough ever.
  • We don’t have enough food so we need to increase production, often used as justification for GM food. The truth is there is enough food for everyone but it is not shared fairly.
  • Global hunger has always existed and there is nothing we can do about it. Not true, and the number of hungry is growing; but some countries eg Bangladesh and Brazil have been successful and shown that progress can be made.

A coordinated campaign

So in 2013 there will be a coordinated campaign including most of UK’s NGOs, not on starvation, but on how the world food market is distorted by governments and big business. It will focus on: –

  • Investment – keeping pressure on government to maintain the promised 0.7% GDP for aid by 2014.
  • Land usage – small farmers being pushed off their land by big agricultural businesses and land being used for fuel crops instead of food.
  • Tax – if big companies stopped dodging their taxes in poor countries there would be more money to keep people from being hungry.
  • Transparency – highlighting the lobbying by big corporations that influences government food policy.

Can the campaign work?

Public pressure can achieve results – if we all work at it during 2013. As result of last year’s Water Campaign our Government doubled allocation of aid to get clean water and sanitation to 60 million people over the next three years.

Activity and events

Sutton for Peace and Justice will be supporting the campaign and joining with other groups and individuals in activities and events based around the following dates:

  • 20 March Budget – Constituency Lobbies across UK.
  • 17-18 June – G8 meeting in N. Ireland near Enniskillen
  • Around the same time as the G8 – Hunger Summit chaired by D Cameron
  • Demonstration in London likely to be 15 June
  • Sept/Oct – activity around the UN Assembly in September discussing the Millennium Goals – one of which was to halve hunger by 2015.

To be kept informed, sign up for email notifications (on the left) or email sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk to be put on our mailing list.

By Mike McLoughlin for Sutton for Peace and Justice