Saturday, March 16, 2013

Engaging UK Citizens in the #post2015 development agenda has important implications both home and away. Let’s take a look at Bradford…

Becca Degan, UK 

In the early years the focus remains on reducing child poverty, improved housing, improved nutrition and lifestyles for women and their children… In addition, ensuring access to free high quality early education and childcare for all children including those with disabilities remains a key focus.” 1

Reading this description of health priorities, reducing poverty, ensuring access to education for all, where would you assume the author was describing?

This is an extract from Bradford City Council’s 2012 Public Health Report. In 2010 27.1% of children in Bradford were living in poverty, compared to the national average of 21.9%. It has one of the highest rates of infant mortality across England, with the majority being from deprived areas2. A response to these statistics has seen the launch of a number of projects, including Born in Bradford, a project that has the potential to help those much further afield than Bradford due to its focus on equality.

As the post Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are being discussed, I think child and maternal health in Bradford provide a good example of how these goals can be made truly universal. Post 2015 goals should have a greater focus on inequality and the use of disaggregated measures, committing governments to tackling inequality, in areas such as Bradford, as well as in cities and countries more traditionally considered as experiencing poverty. International development agendas could be seen as an opportunity to engage in the worldwide community to figure out and action the best ways for all of us to help those in poverty, in our own neighbourhoods, towns and cities in the UK, as well as those on other continents.

Encouraging our politicians to focus on and commit to tackling inequalities has the potential to benefit people worldwide. Inequality has been a major barrier to achieving the current MDGs, despite broad success across several goals, many of the world’s poorest or most vulnerable have made little or no development progress over the past fifteen years and inequalities are now greater than ever3.

Bradford City Council has drafted their Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2013-2017 and there first goal is to ‘Give every child the best start in life in the Bradford district’, this is determined as important due to the high levels of child poverty and infant mortality in Bradford. Their strategy also calls for ‘a healthy standard of living for all’, stating that the gap between the richest and the poorest parts of Bradford is greater than the gap in most other Local Authority areas4.

In the post 2015 global agenda we need to address issues that are truly universal, working together to ensure that those across the globe who are most vulnerable are not forgotten about and left behind, regardless of whether they live in a rich or poor nation. These goals should be and could be used by citizens in the UK as well as globally to pressure our governments to achieving goals that have been internationally ratified.


About the author:

Having recently completed an MA in Globalisation and Development I am looking to develop my knowledge of global issues, to try and influence policy makers on topics that I am passionate about. I currently work in the health sector in pursuit of a career in public health policy and am particularly interested in the role that social media has on engaging citizens with policy.


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