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Poverty and Hunger Eradication

Volume 513: debated on Wednesday 7 July 2010

12. What his most recent assessment is of the effectiveness of his Department's contribution to the achievement of the millennium development goal on the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. (6272)

While globally MDG 1 is the most on-track MDG, we recognise that in Africa and some parts of Asia it is still well off track. DFID is fully committed to meeting the target. For example, in Ethiopia we are helping 7.5 million people to access more and better-quality food, and in Bangladesh we are providing 1 million people with agricultural services, helping to increase incomes by 50%.

Is not the most effective way of achieving those millennium development goals to stabilise world population growth? What focus is his Department giving to that programme?

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his election as Chair of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, and I pay tribute to his expertise in the House on population, and, above all, to his recognition that, as part of all our reviews and DIFD programmes, we are embedding the choice for women to decide whether and when to have children, and to ensure that that helps to underpin not just MDG 1 but many of the other MDGs.

As the millennium development goals have been developed, what financial and technical support will the Department give to the newly created UN Women’s Agency to make a genuine difference to women in poverty in the third world? It is well recognised that direct help for women is the best bet for both families and communities.

We pressed for that to take place, and I am aware that the candidates who will be considered for the post are well forward in the process. We are encouraged that that is going to be taking place, and it has our full support.