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GCAP Japan: More and Better Aid!

From mid-September to mid-October, as students and concerned citizens 'stood up' across Japan to call on governments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and create a just Post-2015 sustainable development agenda, GCAP Japan has been working to shape how Japan delivers foreign aid.

Japan - one of the world's largest international donors - is in the process of revising the charter that governs its Official Development Assistance (ODA).

In 2013, Japan spent US$11.79 billion on ODA, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It ranks 4th among OECD countries in terms of absolute numbers, but just 18th in terms of percentage of national income.


Students at Konan Junior High School in the Shiga Prefecture of Japan 'Stand Up' for a world filled with smiles and without poverty.  A key demand of anti-poverty campaigners is that Japan better spend its Official Development Assistance.

Land Rights Now!

Some 10,000 Dalits and Adivasis – Indians who are marginalised and socially-excluded due to caste and ethnicity – have rallied in the Umariya district of Madhya Pradesh, India to demand land for the landless.

Dalits and indigenous Adivasis account for more than 36% of the population in Madhya Pradesh, but they own just 3.6% of the land. Nationally, none of the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved for these groups, which account for some 300 million people or more than a quarter of India's population.

At rallies on 6 October and 15 October, participants demanded that the government provide five acres of property to landless women and families. They are also calling on officials to place the land titles in the women's names.

On 15 October, the International Day of Rural Women, activists also met with goverment ministers in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand to present their petitions for land rights.

In a Time of Ebola, Lobbying for Action on Poverty

GCAP Liberia and a coalition of civil society leaders - representing women, youth, elderly, the disabled and democracy advocates - met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in September to emphasise the urgency of achieving the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and adopting a transformative Post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of the Ebola virus, which was first reported in Liberia in March 2014 and has since claimed some 2500 lives.

"We are aware of the many challenges our President is facing in the fight against the killer Ebola virus and the slow economy growth," notes James Roberts of GCAP Liberia.  "Civil society actors will remain committed and persistent in influencing our President to push harder for a legitimate Post-2015 development agenda that is more inclusive and participatory."

Cambodia at a Crossroads: New Laws Would Limit Freedoms

Set against a background of endemic corruption, unsustainably low wages and impoverishing confiscations of land, Cambodia is considering a series of laws that will severely restrict human rights and the activities of civil society organisations working on these issues.
 
That's the conclusion of an international delegation - including GCAP - which just visited Cambodia, at the invitation of our national coalition there, to highlight the shrinking space for civic expression and individual freedoms. Read on for the media release and our recommendations as well as French, Spanish and Portuguese translations.
 

Left to Right:  Soeung Saroeun (CCC), Tor Hodenfield (CIVICUS), Kwak Nohyun (Forum Asia), Sarah Enees (IFP), Consuelo Katrina A. Lopa (ADN)

El Salvador: Climate Action

As activists prepare for one of the largest climate days in history - some 250,000 people are expected to march in New York on Sunday 21 September - a broad alliance of organisations and GCAP constituents including youth and indigenous people are holding a Celebration of Sustainability in El Salvador's second largest city, Santa Ana.

This festival of solidarity will focus on creativity, invention and innovation in the areas of food sovereignty, natural medicine, folk arts and ecological tools like energy-saving stoves and solar energy.

iMove events in Asia: Cambodia, India, Korea and Philippines

To mark the 500 day deadline to meet the Millennium Development Goals and adopt a new global Post-2015 agenda, GCAP constituents across Asia gathered in person and online to launch 'iMove for Justice, Peace and Equality', a campaign demanding that leaders at all levels uphold human rights and implement policies that are just, sustainable and transformative.  (Read on to see photos and media coverage.)
 
In the Philippines, a coalition of civil society organisations highlighted the widening wealth gap amidst growing numbers of landless, homeless, malnourished, uneducated, unemployed and sick people in the country.  
 
Youth Ki Awaaz anchored a 12-hour tweet-a-thon in India, 90 minutes focused on each MDG.

Moving for Peace & Justice amidst Violence & Insecurity: This is our life in Afghanistan

By Raz Dalili

On an otherwise ordinary Tuesday in early January, an Afghani man in his mid-30s was in the courtyard outside his house in the eastern part of the country, towards the border with Iran. He heard fighting far away, but his village seemed calm. Then, a mortar flew over his walls and exploded.

"It destroyed my house and wounded 11 members of my family," he later told told an interviewer from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Four of his children were seriously injured.

Peace and security are not abstract concepts in my country. Every day, every single day, people are killed and maimed, homes destroyed, livelihoods ruined by this war that does not end.

During the first six months of the year, the UN documented 4,853 civilian casualites, including more than 1560 deaths. The UN mid-year report notes that this is a 24% increase from a year earlier. But statistics do not convey the impact that insecurity and fear have on our lives.

Let me share with you two more stories.

iMove for Justice, Peace and Equality

New Asian Campaign Starts Now

MEDIA RELEASE

With just 500 days until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and the start of a proposed new global framework to end poverty, the Action/2015 Asia platform is launching a series of interlinked public actions called "i Move Against Injustice, Inequality and Insecurity" to demand that local and global leaders deliver on promises to uphold the rights of every woman, man and child on the planet.