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Australia must do more to fight poverty at home and overseas

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20 October 2016: Over 30 international development organisations and Australian-based social welfare groups, including ChildFund Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Campaign for Australian Aid, have called on the Australian government to take meaningful action to fight domestic and global poverty.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during Anti-Poverty Week, the 36 signatories state: ‘No Poverty is the number one UN Sustainable Development Goal that the Government signed in 2015. Those goals apply globally and here in Australia. We urge you to commit the Government to ending poverty here in Australia, while also doing our fair share as a good global citizen to ending poverty globally.’

Currently, Australia has no established national definition of poverty, and the letter urges the Government to immediately adopt the OECD poverty line, set at 50 per cent of median income. Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, said: “Most alarmingly, 17.4 per cent of all children in Australia are living in poverty, an increase of 2 percentage points over the past 10 years.”

And while the number of people globally living on less than $1.25 a day has been reduced by almost half during the last decade, approximately 836 million people still live in extreme poverty.

CEO of ChildFund Australia Nigel Spence said: “Six million fewer children die today than in 1990. Australian Aid has contributed to this achievement, and we have much to be proud of.

“But consecutive budget cuts to the aid program has reduced Australia’s support to developing countries to the lowest level in our history. If we are serious about addressing poverty, we need a solid plan of action that recognises the value of investing in programs that improve living standards for all children, both in Australia and our wider global neighbourhood.”

New York, NY, September 21, 2016: ChildFund Alliance today launched ‘Toward a Safe World for Children: Child-Friendly Accountability and SDG Target 16.2,’ an initiative that will work with and empower children to hold governments and local leaders accountable to their obligations to end all violence against children, as per Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 16.2.

“ChildFund Alliance played a key role in positioning a stand-alone target on violence against children in Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children (SDG Target 16.2),” said Meg Gardinier, Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance. “We believe that child-friendly accountability has a key role to play in making SDG Target 16.2 a reality.”

Child-friendly accountability is the ability to make certain that those charged with protecting and fulfilling children’s rights actually do what they are supposed to do, and if they do not or cannot, that children and their representatives have some recourse.

“Most children and youth do not have access to child-friendly information about existing protection actors, systems, and laws,” said Dr. Nicholas Alipui, who developed the methodology for ChildFund Alliance’s Child-Friendly Accountability initiative. “Children and youth will be best served if they are able to work with parents, communities, civil society actors, and governments to jointly identify and address protection gaps.”

To ensure that participating children are not put at risk, Child Friendly Accountability will monitor child protection systems such as schools, communities, health systems, and social and judicial services rather than individual incidents of violence. Since the child protection systems are so broad, the initiative will begin with schools and youth associations and expand over time. Risk mitigation factors will be built into all phases of the program.

Activities include helping children access age-appropriate data and information, mapping child protection services, developing advocacy and media campaigns, social mobilization initiatives, and developing a shared ICT platform.

The initiative was launched today in New York at a side event to the United Nations General Assembly. Representatives of UN Missions and agencies, and nongovernmental agencies were invited to adopt and adapt the methodology for use in their own programs. Other speakers at the event included Susan Bissell, Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, and Mina Jaf, Founder and Director of Women Refugee Route.

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About ChildFund Alliance: ChildFund Alliance is a global network of 11 child-focused development organisations working in more than 60 countries around the world. With an annual turnover of over US$500 million, ChildFund Alliance helps an estimated 15 million children and their families to overcome poverty.

www.childfundalliance.org

For more information, contact Diana Quick, communications and digital strategist, dquick@childfundalliance.org