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Female Genital Mutilation

Volume 670: debated on Wednesday 29 January 2020

The hon. Lady is right to raise this matter. I am pleased to say that the UK leads the world in our support to the Africa-led movement to end FGM. In 2018, we announced a further £50 million in UK aid to tackle FGM over the next five years, including £15 million for our programme in Sudan, which is now in its second phase.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. He will of course be aware that the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is next week. In that context, and given some of the discussions around the potential reorganisation of DFID, he will understand why some in the sector are worried about whether funding will be retained up to 2025. The relationships underpinning those programmes take time to embed, so will he please give us that guarantee?

Notwithstanding what may happen with the machinery of government, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State just said, I remind the hon. Lady that we are committed—indeed, we are legally obliged—to spend 0.7% of GNI. That is a firm commitment, and she should be in no doubt about it.

We, like her, look forward to the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February. We wish it well and entirely agree with its theme of “unleashing youth power”. Following DFID’s success in helping to achieve legal change in partner countries, we look forward to making another further important announcement about how we will work with international partners to strengthen laws, policies and systems to respond to FGM.