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Millennium Development Goals

Volume 560: debated on Wednesday 13 March 2013

Q5. What progress has been made by the high-level panel on the development of priorities for the millennium development goals after 2015. (147456)

I am proud to be leading the United Nations high-level panel on what should replace the millennium development goals when they expire in 2015. In my view, we should put the strongest possible emphasis on attempting to banish extreme poverty from the world, and that focus on extreme poverty should come first and foremost. I also hope that, in replacing and enhancing the millennium development goals, we can for the first time look at what I call the golden thread of things that help people and countries out of poverty, which includes good government, lack of corruption, the presence of law and order, justice and the rule of law. Those things can make a real difference.

In view of proceedings so far I did not expect to hear myself saying this, but I commend the Prime Minister on the work he is doing on that panel and in seeking to hold to the international development budget. At a moment when we are asking people to give generously through Comic Relief this weekend, will he identify one group of people who were not included in the millennium development goals and who are often excluded from society and education—those severely disabled young people who face grinding poverty, ill health and the disadvantage of those disabilities? Will the Prime Minister give priority to them in developments over the next two years?

The right hon. Gentleman makes a very good point about helping disabled people across the world, and we should make sure that the framework we look at properly includes those people. On the wider issue of our aid budget, I know it is contentious and I know it is difficult, but I believe we should not break a promise that we made to the poorest people in our world. To those who have their doubts I say that of course there is a strong moral case for our aid budget, but there is also a national security case. It is remarkable that the broken countries—countries affected by conflict—have not met one single millennium development goal among them. By helping to mend those countries, often through security work as well as aid work, we can help the poorest in our world.