Tag Archives: international development

LibLink: Lindsay Northover: UK aid: High impact, low cost

Former Lib Dem International Development Minister Lindsay Northover has been writing for Politics Home about the benefits for both recipients and us at home in the UK of our international aid budget. This is very important to read when it is clear that this is the next target of the right wing media and political types.

She wrote of the impact on disease prevention:

Since 2000 and the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals, the world achieved its commitment to halve extreme poverty. The Sustainable Development Goals adopted globally in 2015 aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, leaving no one behind. That is a supreme challenge. But it is clearly the right thing to do and in our interest. The instability fostered in the world by poverty, migration, climate change, conflict, must be tackled collectively.

This is why my Lib Dem colleagues Michael Moore and Jeremy Purvis took their private member’s bill through Parliament in the last days of the Coalition to secure that future commitment of 0.7 percent of GNI on aid. Many members across both Houses helped us, together with NGOs, and tributes are paid to the UK internationally for making this commitment.

So let us look at disease control and elimination – which is just one area that the UK is a world leader in, but which is topical as we pass the fifth anniversary of the London Declaration in 2012, when a major increase of funding for neglected tropical diseases was announced.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Lynne Featherstone calls on UK Government to support Women’s Health Fund to replace funds lost by Trump’s abortion gag rule

I have felt sick to the stomach virtually every day this week as new pronouncements come from the new US President. Already he’s damaged our planet by authorising new pipelines, promised to reinstate torture and proclaimed that he’s going to build that wall no matter what.

For me, though, the worst was the distasteful image of a man who has gloated about sexually assaulting women sitting, surrounded by men, signing an executive order which will ensure that vulnerable women lose their lives. He has reinstated the “global gag rule” on abortion which means that no US funds can go to organisations which provide abortion services. No US money pays for abortion services, but no organisation can receive funds for its other programmes.

The impact of this on Africa is highlighted by this Washington Post article:

In Kenya, public health experts raised immediate concerns about the new policy. Women here often resort to dangerous methods to end their pregnancies, including drinking battery acid and using wire coat hangers. In parts of rural Kenya, young women have hired local healers to stomp on their stomachs until the pregnancy is deemed over.

“Trump’s policy means even fewer services will be offered,” said Chimaraoke Izugbara, a researcher at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in Nairobi. “Some women will not be reached, and providers may not be available to offer services. I think we are headed to a major disaster.”

Nearly 8,000 women in Kenya die every year from complications caused by pregnancy and childbirth. At least a fifth of those deaths are caused by self-induced abortions, according to Izugbara.

However, Dutch trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen has a solution:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

And your problem with an innovative way to tell girls they don’t have to put up with violence is…..?

There are few things in life more irritating than the Daily Fail crowing. It is doing just that this morning after International Development Minister Priti Patel announced that funding for what the Fail called the “Ethiopian equivalent of the Spice Girls” was being cut from our international aid budget. In the same way as they pepper words like “bogus” around when talking about asylum seekers, or make it sound like every second person claiming benefits is doing so fraudulently (when the figure is less than 1%), they are trying to make it sound like all the money that we send overseas is being frittered away on frivolity.

What they don’t tell you is that the group Yegna is a brilliant, innovative and creative way of getting an important message about women’s and girls’ rights through to both men and women. It tells girls that they don’t have to put up with being beaten by their parents. It changes minds. Just look at this poster from the Girl Effect, who manage this project.

 

I’d particularly want to draw your attention to the changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours section. Almost all boys who were exposed to Yegna’s work would be moved to report it if they were aware of a girl being forced into marriage compared with just over half who were not. 59% of girls beaten by their parents who had listened to Yegna would agree that it should be reported to the authorities compared with less than a third who had not. 25% more girls who had listened to Yegna realised that it was wrong for men to hit their wives.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Flood protection or overseas aid? A false choice

Help UK
Over the festive period, I saw the image on the right on a social media site, stating, against a backdrop of flooded housing:

It’s time to STOP sending money abroad and help people in the UK now. LIKE, COMMENT or SHARE if you agree?

A comment under the image mentioned:

…the 250 million we are giving to India to fund their Space Programme.

Oh dear. Where to start? Call me an old pedant, but I’m naturally suspicious of any entreaty which feels the need to include block capitals. But that’s just one of my little foibles.

My mind boggled at the idea that we are giving “250 million” to India to fund their Space Programme. It took just a quick Google to see where that came from. Our old friend the Daily Mail had a remarkably thoroughly, if one-sidedly, researched article on 15th February 2015 which was headlined as follows:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Liberal Democrats fight for the world’s poorest

Women in the Abu Shouk camp for displaced people, north Darfur, Sudan - Some rights reserved by DFID - UK Department for International DevelopmentFor many Liberal Democrat members the heavy election defeat was disheartening. However, the party can take strength from their contribution to governing the United Kingdom from 2010-2015.

One such example is the achievement made in the area of overseas aid. What were the achievements? When the Liberal Democrats were in government the UK reached the 0.7% figure of all national income, that should go towards foreign aid, for the first time ever; then enshrined the commitment in law.

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Solution to Calais crisis lies in international development

All the unpleasantness of the last few days’ reaction to the ongoing Calais crisis is perhaps just a taste of the difficult challenge it will be for Liberals to uphold decency in the coming years. In my view, the best way to form a powerfully Liberal stance on this issue is to reinforce to the public that the solution to this crisis, as well as others (Islamic extremism, the environment etc.) lies in a field of policy often neglected by mainstream debate: International Development. But for us to form that policy, we must face some difficult home truths.

Every ideology has an extremist form. Every tool that can construct a better world can be used as a weapon to make a darker, crueller one. In the field of international development, it is time for Liberals like ourselves to recognise that we are not exempt from this fact. It is time for our party to develop a stance on development that differentiates us from the major parties and their blind stance to the free market fundamentalism of the current key institutions, the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation, so that Britain can play its part in reforming them when we return to government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 33 Comments

Lib Dem MEP supports Fairtrade group in campaign to help sugar farmers after EU rule change

As Co-Ordinator of Lib Dem Fairtrade Future (LDFF) I’m proud to announce that we’ve launched a new campaign, Help Sugar Farmers, in support of a major effort from the Fairtrade Foundation (the governing body of Fairtrade in the UK) to get a fair deal for sugar farmers in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries following a European Union rule-change which-unless mitigation is provided-will likely lead to around 200,000 people being pushed into poverty.

I’m a proud pro-European but we have to be up-front when the EU makes decisions which adversely affect people both within the EU and-as in this case-beyond.

As noted by the Fairtrade Foundation, the EU has decided to do away with a cap on the amount of sugar grown in Europe which has previously helped to protect the livelihoods of sugar farmers (including around 60,000 who are part of the Fairtrade initiative) by enabling them good access to European markets.

LDFF supports the Fairtrade Foundation in calling for the EU to ‘lead a response which brings together businesses, other EU member states, governments in affected Countries, small farmers and civil society’ and to ‘provide new funding from the EU’s own development budget.’

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarmatt 24th Feb - 10:56am
    I hope the Liberal Democrats are successful with this. It is disgusting what the government are doing / intending to do to sick and disabled...
  • User AvatarATF 24th Feb - 10:55am
    Firstly, congratulations and thank-you to all those directly invovled with the campaigns. In seats in which we could have been squeezed, to resist and increase...
  • User AvatarP. J. 24th Feb - 10:44am
    Heard a comment on Question Time last night. That labour had 500 bodies pounding the streets in Stoke and UKIP had 300. How does that...
  • User Avatartheakes 24th Feb - 10:33am
    Just heard we won from Labour the two Westhoughton (Bolton area), wards yesterday on the Town Council, now have 5 councillors there. More signs of...
  • User Avatarmatt 24th Feb - 10:33am
    @John Hall "I think not, but if so I apologise" I can assure you on several threads {one of which I linked to in previous...
  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 24th Feb - 10:29am
    John Hall - “The arguments and lies around Brexit could challenge someone like me, educated to beyond degree level and with time on my hands....