Please steal these killer facts: a crib sheet for advocacy on aid, development, inequality etc

July 1, 2014

     By Duncan Green     

Regular FP2P readers will be heartily sick of used to me banging on about the importance of ‘killer facts‘ in NGO advocacy and general communications. Killer Fact attackRecently, I was asked to work with some of our finest policy wonks to put together some crib sheets for Oxfam’s big cheeses, who are more than happy for me to spread the love to you lot. So here are some highlights from 8 pages of KFs, with sources (full document here: Killer fact collection, June 2014).

Development Success

Income Poverty: Worldwide, the proportion of people living in extreme income poverty (< $1.25) has more than halved, falling from 47% to 22% between 1990 and 2010. (Source: UN Millennium Progress Report 2013)

Health: Globally, the mortality rate for children (under-five deaths) fell by 41 per cent—from 87 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990. (Source: UN). In absolute numbers, Under-five deaths have fallen from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012. (Source: UNICEF)

Finance for Development

From 1990-2011, total international resource flows to developing countries grew from US$425 million to US$2.1 trillion. Much of this has been driven by rapid expansion in foreign investment in developing countries, growing remittances, and increases in lending (see graph). (Source: Development Initiatives).

Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) remains the main international resource for countries with government spending of less than PPP$500 per person per year. (Source: Development Initiatives)

Locally generated revenue: Government spending in developing countries is now US$5.9 trillion a year, over 40 times the volume of aid. (Source: Development Initiatives)

FFD flows 1990-2011


Conflict: According to the OECD, half the world’s poor live in conflict-affected or fragile states (Source: OECD DAC); by 2030 it may by two-thirds (Source: Brookings Institution).

In 2014 the world will spend $8 billion on peacekeeping (Source: UN), compared to $1,745 billion total military spending in 2012 (Source: SIPRI) (i.e. peace merits less than half of one percent of war).

‘Natural’ Disasters: The number of weather-related disasters reported has tripled in 30 years (Source: Oxfam).

For all the talk of building long-term resilience, the world spent $532 million to prepare for and prevent disasters in 2011 – and $19.4 billion to respond (so 40 times more spent on cure than on prevention). (Source: Oxfam)

Inequality and taxation

The 85 richest individuals in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population. (Source: Oxfam). Update: Forbes using 2014 billionaires list, say it’s now down to 67 richest individuals.

More than 1.5 million lives are lost due to high income inequality in rich countries alone, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

Governments around the world lose around £100bn a year in tax from rich individuals using tax havens. (Source: Oxfam).

Climate Change and Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuel subsidies cost over half a trillion dollars ($500 bn) globally in 2011. Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Venezuela, spend at least twice as much on fossil fuel subsidies as on public health. (Source: ODI.)

Feel free to add your own favourite Killer Facts, (with sources please) or take issue with these ones, not least because I am probably going to have to update this at regular intervals. And here’s our guide to writing your own.

And here’s another page of KFs on inequality and crises, which Ed Cairns has just sent me: The Inequality of Crisis – 1 page of key facts 25 June 2014