As a sector, we've been burying our heads in the sand and hoping that the negative press and public opinion will soon subside but it's been a year and the angst and anguish doesn't seem to be getting any better. The longer there is a misconception about the work we do, the fewer funds there are being brought in and, as a result, fewer lives are being changed.
In terms of its ambition and scope, nothing quite like the Global Goals has ever been attempted. If successful, the impact on all our lives would be profound. It would be one of our defining accomplishments, but if we don't take these principles of cooperation on board, we may well be placing humanity's greatest endeavour out of our reach even before the ink has set on its agreement.
There's another side to the great gogglebox in the corner of our living rooms. TV - in fact British TV specifically - has been the driving force behind humanitarian work that has helped millions of the world's most desperate people. I'm the chair of trustees of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which represents the UK's leading international aid agencies when fundraising for humanitarian emergencies. The DEC has been phenomenally successful, in 67 appeals it has raised more than £1.5billion, including £352million for the Tsunami, £97million for the Philippines Typhoon and, more recently £83 million for the Nepal Earthquake appeal.
One of the things I love about my job is that I get to be optimistic every day. That's because I, and my colleagues working in international development, look at the problems of the world that are rooted in poverty and inequality, and refuse to accept that the world is not smart enough or rich enough to defeat them.
The 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday morning can only be described as a 'nightmare waiting to happen'. Mega-quakes like this one happen roughly every 80 years in Nepal, with over 9000 people being killed the earthquake of 1934. When I visited last year the possibility of another devastating earthquake was a matter of 'when' rather than 'if', however Nepal was in no way prepared for it...
Friday's Parliamentary vote on Michael Moore's Private Members' Bill is a chance for MPs to reconfirm the UK's status as a global leader in the fight against poverty. I urge them to grasp it. It is surely not too much to ask the UK to continue to give 7p in every £10 of national income to help the world's poorest people...
Of the billion people worldwide who have a disability, the vast majority live in developing countries. People with disabilities represent some of the most excluded of all groups in the community. They are less likely to have access to healthcare and education, and in turn find making a livelihood and escaping poverty that much more difficult, if not impossible.
I suspect most of us want to see an effective international aid programme. But only by addressing some of the institutional processes by which money is awarded and projects assessed are we likely to feel as confident as we ought that British international aid is making the difference it should, and difference it could.
The Western World is aware that international assistance is required to help rebuild less developed countries... Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness of what it takes to make these systems work in the different cultural settings. This is especially the case with Afghanistan, which is years behind in progress due to 35 years of conflict.