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Copenhagen Consensus Recommendations

Volume 545: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2012

7. What assessment he has made of the recommendations by the Copenhagen Consensus 2012 expert panel on setting priorities for development aid. (108778)

The Copenhagen Consensus 2012 is a valuable contribution to the development debate, particularly given its focus on getting the best value for money and greatest impact from aid. This is of course also a major priority for the coalition Government, and DFID’s programme priorities are closely aligned with the recommendations from the Copenhagen Consensus. I find the analysis compelling, and I have been working with the Consensus since 2004.

The economists and Nobel laureates of the Copenhagen Consensus have found that spending on tackling malnutrition provides the most value for money in terms of economic development. How much of the Department’s budget is spent on bundled micronutrient interventions?

My hon. Friend makes an extremely important point, and she is right to say that the Copenhagen Consensus puts bundled micronutrient interventions to fight hunger and improve education at the very top of its list of the most desirable activities to achieve maximum impact. Right across our programmes, we have been increasing the delivery of nutrient supplements and fighting hunger. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in Washington last week that we will be supporting the new alliance for food security and nutrition in order to improve food supply and farming across Africa and help to pull 50 million people out of chronic poverty over the next 10 years.

How will these excellent priorities help the people of Yemen, almost half of whom are starving?[Official Report, 12 June 2012, Vol. 546, c. 1-2MC.]

In Yemen, many of the current challenges are humanitarian. Today, we have announced £26 million of humanitarian support and aid to ensure that some of the needs of the population—nearly half of whom, as the right hon. Gentleman rightly observes, are starving—are met. While we are in the humanitarian phase, that is patently the most important response, but we also need to look at the future of governance and resilience in order to improve the lot of the population.