- Check Against Delivery -
Ivan Lewis MP, Labour’s Shadow Development Secretary, speaking at an event organised by aid charity CAFOD this evening, said:
I want to dedicate my speech tonight to two women and group of young men I met in Goma, Eastern DRC on my visit with World Vision only last week.
One woman told me how her home had been surrounded by troops from one of the many militias in Eastern DRC. She was raped so violently that she suffered unspeakable physical damage and was left unconscious. That same night her mother and brother were murdered. Another told me how 3 soldiers from another militia had gang raped her and left her for dead. In the same attack her husband and three children were taken away and she never saw them again. Every day these women cope with emotional and physical scars which may lessen over time but will never heal. These 2 women are not only victims of the impunity which is a stain on the East of DRC but also of the underlying causes.
A state unable to offer basic security to its citizens, militias some of whom both recently and over a number of years have been supported by Rwanda and other neighbouring countries recruiting young men sometimes boy soldiers who see no other way of having a stake in their society and the extreme poverty which crushes all hope.
Then there was the 18 year old young man I met at a project teaching vocational skills. He said he and his young male friends hated sexual violence because it was their mothers and sisters who were the potential victims. Most powerfully of all when I asked him what he wanted for the future in 2 words echoed by his classmates. He said peace and jobs. Once again, underlining the nexus of security, development and political change which is so crucial in the countries of Collier’s bottom billion.
Friends, in the next 20 years we should judge the scale of our ambition and our commitment to real change primarily by whether we can change the life chances for the poorest everywhere, in every country, and those who are trapped in the misery of conflict ridden states.
Tonight I will to lay out an ambitious and credible vision for a progressive Post 2015 Development framework. Ultimately, the new framework must be developed through an authentic partnership between developing, developed and middle income countries, donor and recipient countries, multilateral organisations, charitable foundations, the private sector and civil society.
Gone are the days when G8 Governments can or should impose their views on the rest of the world. So this speech should be seen as a contribution to the debate. In the weeks and months ahead, we will consult further building on the consultation seminars we held with the help of IDS and engage with stakeholders especially in the developing world. Their experiences and views should be at the heart of shaping any new framework.
Our vision is shaped by the concept of a new "Social Contract without borders" to replace the existing MDGs. It is rooted in three key elements.
Our overarching aims should be clear and measurable. By 2030 to have eliminated absolute poverty, begun to reduce inequality, protected scarce planetary resources and ended aid dependency.
I am proud that Labour changed the world on development - We created DFID as a cabinet-level department and increased the budget substantially as part of our commitment to ensure the UK would achieve the UN agreed commitment to spend 0.7 of Gross National income on ODA.
We helped lift 3 million people out of poverty, played a leading role in cancelling debt, establishing a funding mechanism for the Millennium Development Goals, innovative development in Africa and innovative sources of funding for Health and Education.
This record and the global leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown deserve more than a footnote in history. Ed Miliband and this new generation of Labour politicians are determined to build on their proud development legacy by advocating the big economic and social changes that are necessary if we are to have a fairer and sustainable country and world in the future.
We progressives didn't come into politics to explain the world as it is. We came into politics to change the world.
The world is changing rapidly.
75 per cent of the world’s poorest now live in middle income countries,
We have seen the emergence of new economies and the presence of new 'donors' China, India, Brazil to name but three.
The Arab Spring and fragility across the Sahel and West Africa, communications revolution, resource scarcity, climate change, migration and terrorism have created unprecedented change and uncertainty requiring global action.
A banking crisis which started on Wall Street has spread across the world bringing austerity to many, destabilising the Eurozone and threatening the growth which was starting to bring so much hope to many developing countries.
We are living in a much more interconnected and interdependent world. The UK's success as One Nation will significantly depend on our understanding that this is a reality not a choice both in Europe and the wider world. Trade, jobs, migration, the cost of energy and food, the impact of climate change, our security are all profoundly affected by factors and alliances beyond our borders. One Nation: One World is our best and only route to fairness and prosperity in the future. But our values mean globalisation must work for the many not the few and we have a particular duty to reassure people that we understand the insecurity this rapid change is creating. In the 21st century to be a British patriot is to be an internationalist.
The Millenium Development Goals ushered in a new era of development. As a result, admirable progress has been made in many areas including a significant reduction in extreme poverty and infant mortality, access to primary education for boys and girls, improvement in conditions for slum dwellers, and major advances in the fight against diseases such as HIV Aids, Malaria and TB.
Despite this there have been significant failures
Of course, it is important the new framework builds on the existing MDGs.
But, it must also respond to the challenges we will face in the next 20 years.
The High Level UN Panel co-chaired by David Cameron has been charged with setting the intellectual framework for the Post-2015 discussion. In this role I hope the Prime Minister will reflect on the all party Development select committees concerns expressed last week that the meaning of his "golden thread" of development is unclear and the panel needs to be more open in its deliberations.
The Problem for David Cameron is threefold:
Labour’s Development vision is clear and our contribution to a new global covenant must be rooted in our values.
To be clear, any new framework that doesn't have a focus on inequality and sustainable growth will lack credibility and be seen as tinkering at the edges when the world is crying out for radical change.
The new framework must usher in a new era of co-development with common goals that every country is committed to, albeit with sufficient flexibility to recognise countries will be at different stages of development. The framework should include outcomes, our new "social contract without borders", the means by which the outcomes will be achieved, a robust system of reporting and delivering results and a commitment to securing a diversity of finance and maximum value for money.
The "Social contract without Borders" we propose will consist of no more than ten objectives which should be described through the prism of the citizen and communities in which they live. They will seek to integrate poverty reduction and sustainability. In my view, it would be folly to have a parallel set of objectives which artificially divide the two inextricably linked priorities for the future wellbeing of our world.
In the weeks and the months ahead, we will consult on the details. But there are some non negotiable principles and key elements. Systems of social protection, universal healthcare and compulsory education everywhere, jobs with a minimum wage and decent labour standards, a decent home and living environment, access to basic utilities such as clean water, sanitation and light provided through sustainable means, a specific and ambitious objective focused on women’s empowerment and equality, a new specific objective focused on children and young people including an integrated approach to early childhood and support for disabled children, a natural healthy environment which protects our ecosystems and biodiversity and mitigates climate change and its impacts, human rights and life free from violence and active and responsible citizens helping to develop their communities, choose their elected representatives and pursue personal and family aspirations.
To guarantee the desired focus on inequality the objectives should be supported by indicators measuring progress in relation to the bottom 20 per cent in every country, bottom billion in fragile states, and quality of services not simply access ie student attainment not simply school attendance. In addition to a distinct gender equality objective a number of the goals should have gender equality as an indicator of progress.
In order to deliver these objective we must be clear about the range of means to be deployed. Aid will continue to be essential but implying aid is the only or primary vehicle is misleading and damages the case for aid we must continue to make. Responsible capitalism, state building, empowered citizens and robust data will be essential especially if we are to focus on the most poor and vulnerable.
- Responsible capitalism which includes:
- State building which will include:
This should include consideration of establishing an international court equivalent to the International Criminal Court to indict and try those accused of the most serious of corruption abuses.
- Empowered Citizens able to hold their governments to account
- Robust and disaggregated data to benchmark progress and identify the interventions which work.
In addition to aid we cannot ignore the increasingly important role other forms of finance will play in supporting development.
The new framework needs to recognise and leverage alternative forms of finance.
We will continue to press for the UK's 0.7 commitment to be enshrined in law as promised in the Tory party manifesto and coalition agreement. And apply pressure to other donors to match the UK’s commitment under successive Governments and fulfil their international obligations. It is important to recognise the catalytic effect of aid for development in helping to promote state building, economic growth and programmes that are scalable and have wide impact e.g. M-Pesa / TradeMark East Africa
But in the longer term and certainly by 2030 aid should become a smaller part of the development solution. There will always be a need for humanatarian aid and sadly it is likely a small number of states will continue to be disproportionately dependent on aid due to their fragility. But ending aid dependency is the right objective for greater equality and the dignity, independence and self determination of nations and their citizens. It should be a core part of the mission of Centre left development policy. We should also be radical in redefining our definition of aid dependency as any country where 20 per cent of the overall budget is supported by aid. This both creates new opportunities and recognises new realities. Including:
We need to harness all of these as well as secure big global changes on issues such as tax avoidance and fair trade.
The irony of the aid critics on the right is they should be making the case for increased aid now together with economic and social reform focused on sustainable growth and inequality. This is the fastest route to end aid dependency.
All countries irrespective of their income status must be part of the framework and expected to show progress.
Turning to the Uk, If we are going to champion a radical new global framework, we have to demonstrate a willingness to lead by example.
We are proud that DFID employs many people whose level of commitment and development expertise is second to none. However, to respond to the challenges of a changing world, support a new global framework and ensure best value for UK taxpayers’ money radical change to Dfid and UK development policy will be necessary.
A Labour DFID will lead a new UK development policy which will seek to draw on the expertise and influence of all relevant Government Departments. DFID alone cannot ensure the Uk continues to be at the cutting edge of development in the changing world.
Friends, social justice should never be a cause with an end date but a perpetual struggle passed from one generation to the next. I want my children and grandchildren to be part of that struggle when their time comes. But our generation can and should be the generation which ends absolute poverty, reduces inequality and safeguards the planet. To do so will require a global mass movement for change and political leaders with the values and vision to will a better world.
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” These are the words of the great Nelson Mandela.
The commitments we make in 2015 will determine whether we are up to the scale of the challenge.