Tag Archives: international development

Martin Horwood MP writes…Reducing the negative impact of violence on international development

Every five minutes a child dies from violence.

This appalling statistic, released in a new report from Unicef UK today, shows that violence is not confined to an unlucky few or even to war zones. Across the world, millions of children bear the brunt of an epidemic of violence that is often hidden or ignored and that threatens their rights to a healthy, safe and fulfilling life.

Violence manifests itself in many forms. Unicef UK’s research reveals that more than 125 million women, most in early childhood or adolescence, have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). In some regions, the child murder rate is shockingly high, especially for teenagers.  For example, an adolescent boy in Latin America is 70 times more likely to be murdered than in the UK.

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Conference Speeches: Lynne Featherstone: I have been able to do über-Liberal things in Government

Lynne FEatherstone 2007 Brighton conference by Liberal DemocratsConference may have been a week or so ago but we still have some keynote speeches to post. Lynne Featherstone spoke about the work she had done to help the most vulnerable people across the world with great humility. She said she had been able to introduce über-liberal policies but was also keen to pay  tribute to Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg for getting the economy on track.

She spoke powerfully about what she’s dong to protect women and girls around the globe and talked with great humility, saying that whenever she meets people in desperate circumstances she’s very aware that that could have been her. “I didn’t choose where I was born” she said. Here is the video and the text is below:

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Michael Moore’s International Development Bill passes its first Commons hurdle

michael-moore-mp-secretary-of-state-for-scotlandMichael Moore’s Private Members’ Bill, which enshrines the 0,7% of GDP target for international aid into law, passed its Second Reading in the Commons today by 164 votes in favour to just 6 against. It will now go forward to be studied in more detail by a Committee. In July he wrote for this site about why he’d chosen this issue.

Speaking during the debate, Moore, who was International Development Spokesman for the Party in the run up to the last General Election, said:

Right now we are in the midst of an almighty debate about our future.

Development is a small but important part of the debate in Scotland. Reaching the UN target is an achievement of the UK as a whole, including Scotland.

As part of the UK, Scotland belongs to a family of nations which are the world’s second largest donors of international aid.

And we are not passive in this process either with 40% of the staff at DFID based in Abercrombie House in East Kilbride.

Together, with the rest of the UK, our money goes further and our impact is stronger.

Scots who want their country to be a force for compassion and relief should reflect on what we have achieved today.

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Michael Moore MP writes…Securing the UK’s commitment to international development

Lynne Featherstone in UgandaI am pretty sure I have taken every chance available to enter the ballot for a Private Member’s Bill since being elected to the House of Commons in 1997.

What is certain is that I have never succeeded in securing one of the highly coveted slots that give backbench MPs a chance to pilot legislation through Parliament – until now, that is.

In the old days I am sure that those lucky enough to emerge in the “top 20” of the ballot would have learned of their good fortune by letter or maybe even messenger. By contrast, I became aware of securing the second slot by text messages and a sudden spate of social media ‘notifications’. The letter duly followed.

In the weeks since, I have had many enquiries asking which issue I would choose and have had just as many (mostly) helpful suggestions – my thanks to all who took the trouble.

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Lynne Featherstone on the need for clean cookstoves to transform the lives of women and girls

Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan tells Secretary Clinton more about the clean cookstoves effort in South India.Earlier this week we told you of Paddy Ashdown’s visit to Bangladesh to raise awareness of the need for clean stoves. This is also an area where Liberal Democrat International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone has been working and on Thursday, she spoke at a Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves conference in London. This issue is important because the World Health Organisation estimates that 4.3 million people lost their lives through being exposed to household air …

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Martin Horwood writes … an important day for disability and international development

A Remarkable Young ManSelect committee reports are often considered to be rather dry, even to the most politically active among us, which is why I feel particularly compelled to highlight the 11th report of the International Development CommitteeDisability and development.

The select committee decided to hold this inquiry because they had been told repeatedly by organisations like Sightsavers that our country’s aid system was not delivering for disabled people overseas. Lynne Featherstone also paid attention to these organisations and started championing the rights of disabled people in her first year as a minister, describing disability as the great neglected subject in international development.

photo by: khym54
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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone: More action needed on reproductive rights for all

Lynne FeatherstoneThis week, International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone is attending the UN Commission on Population and Development. She has written for the Huffington Post about how crucial it is to make sure that women have the choice about when to have children by having access to contraception, potentially saving 800 lives every day:

Globally there are 222million women who wish to space or delay the timing of births, but do not have access to modern forms of contraception. This has real and devastating consequences on their lives. In 2010, 800 women a day died from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth and in 2008 an estimated 8.7million young women aged 15 to 24 in developing countries resorted to unsafe abortions. All of this was preventable.

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone in New York for the Commission on the Status of Women

New york police  Some rights reserved by Amiga-Commodore Development Minister Lynne Featherstone spent two days in New York earlier this week at the United Nation’s annual Commission on the Status of Women. She posted a series of blogs from the Big Apple. Here are some highlights.

Day One:

I’ll be attending a whole load of events as well as talking to my counterparts from around the world to ensure the CSW negotiations lead to a

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Meet Malcolm Bruce: Part 2: International Development and those Euro elections

malcolm-bruce-2After his surprise election as Deputy Leader last week, I caught up with Malcolm Bruce, someone who is well known to us in Scotland but not so much to the rest of the party. The first part of the interview, where talks about Liberal Democrat achievements in government, what he can bring to the Deputy Leader role and on Scottish independence, was published last week.

Malcolm has been Chair of the Commons Select Committee on International Development since 2005. After years of economic portfolios, including Trade and Industry, the Treasury itself …

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Martin Horwood MP writes…Putting people with disabilities into the international development picture

One year after her appointment as the first ever Liberal Democrat minister at the Department for International Development (DfID), Lynne Featherstone has already earned a reputation for picking up difficult subjects and setting ambitious goals. In her first year, she put the issue of female genital mutilation on the national and international agenda and famously declared that she wanted to see it gone within a generation and then started to take the practical steps to make that happen.

Now Lynne has taken up another challenge for some of the world’s most vulnerable people: to champion the inclusion of people with disabilities. …

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LibLink… Lynne Featherstone: UK will help tackle the Great Neglect of disability

Lynne Featherstone, in New York for the UN General Assembly, has written for the Huffington Post about what the UK is doing to help those with disabilities in developing countries.

First she outlined why this is necessary:

More than one billion people worldwide live with disability and suffer huge discrimination as a result. They face unequal access to education, employment, healthcare, social support and the justice system. Consequently, they are disproportionately some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world – part of an unseen great neglect.

The internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have done a great deal to address

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Michael Moore MP writes…Scotland has a role in overseas aid

photoAmidst the fever of the independence referendum debate in Scotland on issues such as currency, financial services and pensions, Lynne Featherstone and I took part in a series of engagements in Glasgow recently which reinforced with me what would be lost in terms of international development if Scotland voted to leave the Union.
 
As a former International Development spokesperson for the Party I am still passionate about this issue. I’m proud that the issues we as Lib Dems have long campaigned for have become a reality

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LibLink…Lynne Featherstone: The disabled people hidden from view

Liberal Democrat international development minister Lynne Featherstone has written an article in the Sunday Times about the plight of disabled people in developing countries, and how they often don’t receive much needed aid.

But for every medal-winning athlete, there are millions more in the developing world who are treated as sub-human, hidden from view and forgotten. Millions of women who are raped and beaten because they are discriminated against or physically incapable of escaping their attackers. Millions of children denied an education because they can’t see their textbooks, hear their teachers or get to school. And millions of people locked out

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LibLink…Lynne Featherstone writes on World Malaria Day

Over at the Huffington Post, Lib Dem international development minister Lynne Featherstone has been talking about the importance of World Malaria Day.

Here’s an excerpt:

Malaria affects over half the world’s population, with a child dying every minute from the disease. In the worst-affected countries malaria has a devastating impact on health systems and economies. When faced with these stark facts it can often seem like there’s no hope.

But amongst the gloom there are genuine signs that we may finally be winning the battle against malaria. Across the world malaria is on the decline. Over the past decade governments, NGOs and multilaterals

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone working to transform the lives of women and girls around the world

Lynne Featherstone, Minister for International Development, writes at the Huffington Post, on the opportunities 2013 brings to transform the lives of women and girls around the world.

This year is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a lasting difference to the lives of women and girls everywhere in the world.

Between the Commission on the Status of Women meeting in New York in March, the work on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals and the UK Presidency of the G8, the international community

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Government shifts to back full range of medical care for rape victims in armed conflict

Lindsay NorthoverWelcome news from the House of Lords last week, where Lib Dem peer and government spokesperson for International Development, Lindsay Northover, for the first time said the British government believes that girls and women raped in armed conflict are protected under international humanitarian law, even when domestic law in the country in question says something else.

What that means in practice is that the UK government is willing to fund the full range of medical care for the victims, including abortion where medically necessary – even if domestic law in that country …

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Opinion: 2013 – Time to think afresh about International Development?

Lynne Featherstone in Zambia. Photo:  some rights reserved by DFID http://www.flickr.com/photos/dfid/8220719712/Another year, another set of attacks on development aid in the right-wing press. Prompted by a spectacularly ill-informed paper from Civitas, the Telegraph, Mail and Spectator tried once again to argue, without evidence, that high proportions of British aid are wasted.

The truth is that, under the Coalition, far more attention has been paid to value for money in aid spending than ever before. What is more, there’s little need to speculate about where

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Fighting for the rights of women – all over the world

This week, The Independent has run an interview with International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone – and no surprise that equalities feature strongly in her approach to the job:

Today we are talking about Zambia, from where she has just returned from a trip to meet victims of domestic violence, as well as the First Lady and the newly-appointed Minister of Gender, as part of her brief as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for International Development (DFID).

In Masabuka, Featherstone discussed ways to empower a population where 63 per cent of women believe domestic battery is justifiable. “It’s a culture that is so

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone in Zambia, part 2

Lib Dem international development minister Lynne Featherstone is currently on a trip to the southern African country of Zambia. Her first visit was to the capital, Lusaka, and to a UK-funded empowerment programme for adolescent girls.

Over to Lynne:

This programme is supporting more than 1,500 of the most vulnerable girls, providing safe spaces and mentoring to help build their confidence and life skills.

The girls I met told me they were learning about their rights as women. One 16 year old girl said she now felt more confident to say no to unwanted approaches from boys. Another said the girls now

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone on ending violence against women and girls in Zambia

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone is currently visiting Zambia and blogging her trip for the Huffington Post. In her first post she writes:

My first visit since arriving in Zambia was to a UK aid adolescent girls empowerment programme in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital, Lusaka. This initiative is supporting more than 1,500 of the most vulnerable girls, providing safe spaces and mentoring to help build their confidence and life skills.

The girls I met told

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Featherstone: 0.7% aid target will stick

Interviewed by The Independent, new International Development minister Lynne Featherstone stood by the target of giving 0.7% of GDP in international aid, and moreover setting that target in law:

Featherstone is adamant that the 0.7 per cent figure will be enshrined in law “as soon as we can get a legislative slot” and that Greening is “absolutely committed to it”.

Having been shuffled out of an equalities role in the UK, she will instead by taking up many equalities issues internationally in her new department:

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Why is the UK government encouraging companies to use tax havens?

Plans by the government to change Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) rules are threatening to deny the developing world billions of pounds in tax revenues. The current CFC rules discourage UK companies from using tax havens, by requiring them to pay UK levels of corporation tax whether they are based in the UK or abroad. This system discourages the practice of profit shifting and protects the tax incomes of both the UK and developing countries.

The changes were proposed in the Budget earlier this …

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Adrian Sanders writes… What progress has been made towards achieving full primary education for all children?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were created by the world’s richest nations and institutions to tackle the major problems facing the developing world. The second goal states that by 2015 all children should be able to complete primary school. This was an ambitious goal as primary enrolment rates in 1999 were under 60% in some countries.

Current primary school enrolment stands at 90%, however progress varies over the developing world. The enrolment rates of wealthier regions like Latin America have remained roughly the same over the last decade staying around 95%, but poorer regions have seen much larger improvement since the …

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Liblink: Nick Clegg – Rio’s reprise must set hard deadlines for development

Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has written for the Guardian about the Rio+20 summit he’s attending. He says that it’s vital that we “revive the spirit of our predecessors to get the world on a much more sustainable path”.

He spelled out the consequences if we don’t act:

Too many people still lack food: tonight, one billion will go hungry. There isn’t enough clean energy: right now women in some of the poorest communities are fuelling their homes with tyres and plastics. Despite the noxious fumes produced, they rely on anything that will burn. Dirty water and poor

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Opinion: Why the UK should keep its promises on international aid

The best use of aid for International Development has been a controversial topic recently, with rows over the need for aid to India spilling onto the front pages – many of them spectacularly ill-informed on both sides. That issue is complex – but at least you can rely on Liberal Democrats to think about it carefully. In 2010, I chaired a policy working group on international Development, which argued that the UK should focus on supporting good governance, sovereignty and accountability to the poor, so that countries could move away from aid dependency. As India has all of those, we argued that aid to India could stop now. However, with more people living below the poverty line in India than the whole of Africa, the counter-argument is also strong. In the end an amendment from House of Commons International Development Select Committee Chair Malcolm Bruce, calling for aid to continue for now, was supported by conference.

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The Independent View: Budget corporate tax changes could cost developing countries billions

Ahead of the most important austerity budget in a generation, the government plans to open up a huge new tax loophole that will cost ordinary people around the world billions warns ActionAid in a new report ‘Collateral Damage’

The international development charity has revealed that this loophole will allow UK based multinationals to avoid an estimated £4 billion worth of taxes in developing countries and will also cost the UK Treasury £1 billion.

Until now, the UK’s anti-tax haven rules have provided a deterrent to companies seeking to avoid paying taxes in Britain and poor countries alike. The proposed changes …

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A postcard from… Abuja

A week away from Westminster offers our Parliamentarians an opportunity to travel. And whilst Ros Scott went north, as we’ll see later today, Mark Williams headed towards the warmth of West Africa. He sent us this…

If ever there was a justification for our coalition government’s commitment on overseas aid, it was laid bare for me on a half-term trip to Nigeria as part of the All-Party Group on Global Education working with the charity ActionAid International. I will never forget the village school in Abuja with 700 children with absolutely no water supply, no toilet provision, no drinking water, but …

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The Independent View: Feeding cars or people? The case for food sovereignty

Zero-carbon energy from plants might sound like a good idea. But that’s not the view of Luis Muchanga, a peasant leader from Mozambique, who spoke at a seminar on the global food crisis in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Mozambique, Luis pointed out, ought to be well placed to feed its people, with 70% of the population living in rural areas and practising subsistence agriculture. In reality though, around 35% of families go hungry, as the government prioritises export agriculture. And an increasing proportion of this export production is devoted to feeding the appetite of the rich world’s cars and …

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The Independent View: Sorry ActionAid – it’s time to put people in charge of their own development

This is a response article to ‘The Independent View: Centre Forum is wrong about aid – UK aid makes a difference’ by Centre Forum’s Pauline Dixon and Paul Marshall

Failure to allocate international aid more effectively on a rising budget will lead to a rapid decline in public support for it. This is what the CentreForum paper ‘International aid and educating the poorest’ seeks to address, and this is why ActionAid’s concerns about our paper, set out last week on Lib Dem Voice, are misplaced.

We are not opposed to international aid (ActionAid comes close to implying we are). Nor do we oppose …

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The Independent View: Where is the promised aid money being spent?

In the run up to the 2011 G8 summit in Deauville, France, this May, international humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide is pushing for commitment and clarity on the agricultural aid promises pledged by G8 members  in the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila.

Back then, the British Government alongside the other G8 countries committed $22 billion in aid to be distributed over three years as part of the L’Aquila Global Food Security Initiative. The British commitment in particular was for £1.1 billion. These numbers may appear substantial, however they pale in comparison to the $30 billion per year that the UN Food …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Walter 21st Oct - 5:33pm
    The way he is holding the document makes it relatively obvious he is doing it on purpose.
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 21st Oct - 5:24pm
    #iagreewithAlice. This is a chance for Nick to right a huge wrong. We should have had a woman in the Cabinet a long time ago....
  • User AvatarRobin McGhee 21st Oct - 5:19pm
    Great article! Really can't see a reason not to have Jo Swinson in as Scottish Secretary, at the very least.
  • User AvatarHelen Tedcastle 21st Oct - 5:18pm
    I agree with Caron Lindsay - well said.
  • User AvatarRC 21st Oct - 5:12pm
    Just to repeat my point, you don't have to have a surplus to start reducing the relative size of the debt, if the economy is...
  • User AvatarRC 21st Oct - 5:10pm
    @ Bill le Breton If there isn't, we're going to be heading deeper and deeper into a debt spiral from which it will be difficult...