ONE welcomes the new UK Government’s commitment to show global leadership in the fight against extreme poverty in the coalition agreement that has launched the new government’s agenda.
Building on the leadership of the previous government, both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister were very clear in their videos for ONE Vote 2010 that this is a priority for them. Having made these promises in both the International Development and EU sections of the coalition document, we’ll be watching next Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech closely for indications of how these important words are translated into action.
Here are some excerpts from the document. On International Development it says:
The Government believes that even in these difficult economic times, the UK has a moral responsibility to help the poorest people in the world. We will honour our aid commitments, but at the same time will ensure much greater transparency and scrutiny of aid spending to deliver value for money for British taxpayers and to maximise the impact of our aid budget.
We will honour our commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013, and to enshrine this commitment in law.
We will encourage other countries to fulfil their aid commitments.
We will support actions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In particular, we will prioritise aid spending on programmes to ensure that everyone has access to clean water, sanitation, healthcare and education; to reduce maternal and infant mortality; and to restrict the spread of major diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. We will recognise the vital role of women in development, promote gender equality and focus on the rights of women, children and disabled people to access services.
We will use the aid budget to support the development of local democratic institutions, civil society groups, the media and enterprise; and support efforts to tackle corruption.
We will introduce full transparency in aid and publish details of all UK aid spending online. We will push for similarly high levels of transparency internationally.
We will create new mechanisms to give British people a direct say in how an element of the aid budget is spent.
We will keep aid untied from commercial interests, and will maintain DfID as an independent department focused on poverty reduction.
We will stick to the rules laid down by the OECD about what spending counts as aid.
We will push hard in 2010 to make greater progress in tackling maternal and infant mortality.
We will work to accelerate the process of relieving Heavily Indebted Poor Countries of their debt.
We will support efforts to establish an International Arms Trade Treaty to limit the sales of arms to dangerous regimes.
We will support pro-development trade deals, including the proposed Pan-African Free Trade Area.
We will support innovative and effective smaller British non-governmental organisations that are committed to tackling poverty.
We will explore ways of helping the very poorest developing countries to take part in international climate change negotiations.
We will ensure that UK Trade and Investment and the Export Credits Guarantee Department become champions for British companies that develop and export innovative green technologies around the world, instead of supporting investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production.
We will provide a more integrated approach to post-conflict reconstruction where the British military is involved – building on the Stabilisation Unit in Whitehall and creating a new Stabilisation and Reconstruction Force to bridge the gap between the military and the reconstruction effort.
We will review what action can be taken against ‘vulture funds’.
We will support reform of global financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in order to increase the involvement of developing nations.
..and on Europe it says:
We will ensure that the British Government is a positive participant in the European Union, playing a strong and positive role with our partners, with the goal of ensuring that all the nations of Europe are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century: global competitiveness, global warming and global poverty.
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