Motion to Take Note
My Lords, I should start by referencing the register of interests, in which my interests in a number of development and charitable organisations are recorded.
On 8 September 2000, the member states of the United Nations agreed the millennium declaration and set out the millennium development goals, which aspired to transform the lives of those living with poverty, disease and lack of basic human rights around the world at the start of the 21st century. Those present affirmed their collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity, and they set out key values that should underpin their collective action to support peace, development and human rights.
Those values of freedom, equity and solidarity, tolerance, non-violence, respect for nature and shared responsibility were to drive the international community to action in the hope of eradicating many of the worst conditions in the world by 2015. In the 15 years that have followed, much has been achieved. By tackling disease, achieving gender parity in primary education, improving access to clean water and reducing extreme poverty, the lives of more than 2 billion people have been transformed. But of course much remains to be done. Progress has been inconsistent: around 1 billion people still live on less than £1 a day; millions of girls miss out on secondary school; safe sanitation is absent for hundreds of millions; and too many die or suffer from the impact of violent conflict.
So in 2015, we will not only celebrate the significant, if incomplete, success of the MDGs—and, indeed, the 10th anniversary of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, which did so much to prioritise change in Africa—but the global community through the United Nations will, I hope, agree a new set of goals, the sustainable development goals, which will be the engine for development over the next 15 years, with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty and delivering basic human rights for all.
Much of our political debate in the UK and globally over 2014 has been dominated by fears about migration, security, economic uncertainty, our climate and our planet. These fears cross national boundaries and are shared by people of different cultures and nationalities, and their solutions are truly global, not national. Surely we can agree, though, as we look ahead to 2015, that fundamental to tackling these fears, to help ensure a more peaceful, stable, prosperous and equitable world for future generations, is the need to lift those living in extreme poverty or in fear of extreme weather conditions, or lacking in basic human rights or provisions, out of those conditions and into a better future.
Surely a world that is more equitable, where more have opportunities, where women and men have the same rights and opportunities, where those marginalised as a result of their physical condition, their identity, their sexuality or location are recognised as having the same basic rights as others, would be a world in which it would be easier to deal with these great fears and uncertainties of our times. While the SDGs are ultimately about justice and solidarity, they are also about tackling these great fears of the 21st century and helping all of us live better, safer and more fulfilling lives.
For the first time, in 2015 the global community has a unique opportunity to bring together in one set of agreements goals about our climate, environment, development and inequality with the financial mechanisms and partnerships that are required to deliver those goals. For the first time—because any agreement will be built on years of consultation and involvement, with the record of what works and what does not, with access to 21st century technology and the means of accountability to ensure delivery and results—these goals will surely be built upon greater ownership and partnership than ever before. Tackling inequality must run like a thread through the new SDGs to ensure that all have access and rights. Reducing inequality between and within nations is fundamental to eradicating extreme poverty.
Just as tackling economic inequality will affect the delivery of every SDG, so too will the position of women. It is undoubtedly the case that on a local, national and international level, where women’s participation is guaranteed and women leaders can flourish, development is more successful and sustainable. The participation and empowerment of women, and the eradication of gender inequality in relation to property ownership, income and basic rights will be fundamental if the SDGs are to have the impact we demand.
Earlier this year, I experienced in the Philippines, as so many others experience every year of their lives, how extreme weather events and natural disasters can destroy years of hard work in economic and social development. Programmes that develop and strengthen resilience to such events must be built into the delivery of these SDGs so that the most affected and sometimes most marginalised communities can plan their development for the future, safe in the knowledge that their work will reap results for future generations.
Across all this, the principle of universality of rights will underpin the 2015 agreement on sustainable development goals, and the rallying cry will be, “Leave no one behind”. However, I should like to focus particularly on two key aspects that will no doubt be controversial and challenging in 2015 but must be central to the final commitment if it is to make a difference for the poorest people on the planet. The United Nations Secretary-General published on 4 December his synthesis report, The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet. It brings together all the work carried out so far on the SDGs and sets out six essential elements that must guide the work to strengthen, prioritise and deliver an agreement by September 2015. These elements—dignity, people, prosperity, the planet, justice and partnerships—are our pipelines to peace and sustainable development.
However, the delivery of the goals that we agree will be achieved only if we invest seriously in capacity in regional and continental organisations, and in national institutions and governments in the developing world. This includes: proper taxation systems and revenue authorities that can collect and disperse funds; courts and justice systems that protect the weakest and assert the fair and transparent rule of law; strong parliaments that hold Governments to account and government ministries that can deliver in education and health, and in the creation of jobs; and reliable, independent data collection on which to base decisions and measure success. Therefore, as part of the agreement on financing that will run alongside the newly agreed sustainable development goals after 2015, there must be genuinely concerted and consistent effort to invest in capacity and a willingness, in those nations where the vast majority of the extreme poor live, to support that capacity building and respect, accountable, open, fair and transparent systems and institutions that put people before those in power.
The second key aspect is peace and security. The draft sustainable development goals include, for the first time, a firm commitment to peacebuilding and a recognition of the importance of freedom from conflict and violence if those living in the most extreme poverty and with the worst level of human rights are to see their living conditions transformed. Draft goal 16 of the 17 published by the United Nations last Thursday states that the goal is to,
“promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.
As Saferworld, with its particularly strong research and campaigning over recent months, and UNICEF, with its campaign on violence against children, have shown, implementing and agreeing this goal is going to be perhaps one of the toughest challenges of all. There will be many states in the UN that will see such a commitment as a threat to their national sovereignty and as opening the door to interference and intervention from Europe and North America. The UK can play a key role this year in reassuring these nations that this goal and this understanding are instead about delivering justice for those who live in the worst conditions in the worst places on earth.
Current projections are that, by 2030, more than 50% of those living in extreme poverty will be living in the most violent and fragile places. As many of us know from our experience in these places, access to schooling, access to health services, access to clean water and access to justice can be almost non-existent. The United Nations cannot only be about peacekeeping and other uniformed forms of security around the world. The member states and their global leaders must address these fundamental issues on the rule of law, with strong but accountable and open institutions, and they must give priority to those living in fear of violence, with the impact of conflict around them every day.
In conclusion, I want to stress the important role of the United Kingdom. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a leading member in the European Union and an active participant in the Commonwealth, the IMF, the World Bank, the G8 and the G20, we are uniquely placed to influence, even lead, this debate. I hope that the Government will do so, and I will ask four questions here today. First, what mechanisms have been set up to integrate and then promote our intervention towards the best possible agreement on sustainable development goals in September 2015? Secondly, what response have we given to the report of the UN Secretary-General, published last week on 4 December? Thirdly, what will we demand at the European Union Council meeting next Tuesday, given its responsibility to help shape the best outcome in 2015? Fourthly, will we insist that commitments on peacebuilding, on inequality, on gender and on resilience to extreme events be upfront in the final agreement? If we do, we will help to usher in an era of transformation that will deliver a safer, more prosperous and more just 21st century. I beg to move.
My Lords, I am sure that everybody in the House is truly grateful to the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, for introducing this subject. We do not have enough debates—at least not in my view—about development, aid and the best way of going about these connected, but different, activities. I am grateful to him for his synoptic view of the scene. I confess that I approach the subject with a certain humility—and that perhaps makes me not the best possible person to follow the noble Lord—because I am a retired practitioner. I have to remember that I was a practitioner in the 1980s and 1990s and that the world has moved on, but in those days I was deeply involved with aid and economic development.
My interest in the subject arose a long time ago. There were two economists, Tom Bauer and Thomas Balogh: they were both immigrants—which is interesting —and both became Members of your Lordships’ House. They used to debate the philosophy of aid and development passionately on the Floor of this House, in a way that I have not seen us debating lately. Bauer was a market man. He believed in economic opportunities —a seizing of opportunities to trade and invest achieving a satisfactory return. His philosophy has been demonstrated to work in certain places, such as Malaysia and Brazil. His conclusion was that there was no reason to suppose that development could not be achieved all over the world in much the same way as it was achieved in western Europe and in the United Kingdom during the industrial revolution.
Balogh was much more a top-down Government-to-Government aid supporter. He was an adviser for a number of years to Harold Wilson. The aid orthodoxy of today is much more on the Balogh theme than the Bauer theme. As I said before, we do not have that much debate about it; we seem to hold similar views about the orthodoxy, which is probably something that makes me unsuitable to follow, because I am a Bauer man, not a Balogh man, and therefore in a minority—a quite familiar position.
My second interest in the subject arises because 30 years ago, I started about a dozen years with what was then the Commonwealth Development Corporation. At that time, it was a classic development finance institution: state owned and funded by Treasury capital, funding private sector economic opportunities and making modest profits that were liable to corporation tax. What it did was, in general, unattractive to fully market players, either because of the political risk or the risk of low returns. Therefore, what the CDC was doing then was filling gaps—doing things that other people did not quite want to do. That is my definition of a development finance institution: for it to be a DFI, it has to be prepared to do things that the market is not prepared to do—and of course to do them successfully.
My third interest, which is much smaller, is with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases—this relates back to the previous debate. CDC had some 250 people in 65 different locations, many of them tropical, and we needed the services of HTD. After retirement, I did quite a lot of work for HTD, including fundraising in order to move the hospital into more satisfactory premises.
I was, therefore, a bottom-up player in both senses. I respected and knew about millennium goals, in the sense that although I was pre-millennium, we were still aiming at much the same things that were codified in 2000. The problem is that bottom-up players cannot cope with millennium goals: they simply do not have the time. They are too big, too abstract and too distant from their lives. Take mobile phones in Ghana, tea in Malawi or marine offloading facilities in Papua New Guinea: while you are carrying out those projects and making sure that they are sustainable and generate returns, it is difficult to take time to think about the great, wide issues of the millennium goals.
With our experience as front-line operators, how should we think about the millennium goals and the aid programme? For my part, I think about striking a better balance in our aid programme between aid and economic development, as well as the contributions to the development goals. I will illustrate that briefly by taking the example of tea. The Commonwealth Development Corporation was responsible for starting the Kenya Tea Development Agency, which now has more than half a million growers and 64 tea factories. It has definitely been a sustainable enterprise and Kenya is now the third largest producer of tea in the world. But after that we went elsewhere.
I shall also mention Malawi, which is not a word-for-word accurate experience, but a good illustration. Malawi with its 17 million people is not abounding in economic potential. It is a difficult place with no access to the sea, and market players find it difficult to achieve returns there. So we started a tea property. We did our due diligence and saw that we had land with good soil, that water was available and that the climate was right—all of which would allow tea to be grown successfully. Tea needs a medium-term capital input. Tea plants are trees, but they are allowed to grow to only 30 inches high. However, they need time to develop, so you cannot pluck the leaves for tea for some years. You also need to build a tea processing factory, and therefore you must have capital. However, capital in Malawi was then and still is in very short supply.
We set up a nursery for the tea plants and for woodlots—because without timber for fuel, you cannot operate a tea factory. Immediately, we were creating jobs. We needed to make a road because you can bet your life that a lorry cannot get in and out of a remote place easily. Again, that is economic development and it creates jobs. Then there was the matter of housing and gardens for the people working on the plantation, as well as the school and the clinic, both of which we would build. We needed communications in the form of mobile telephones to contact the market in Mombasa and sell the tea. Lastly, women are very important in tea plantations because they are much better at plucking the leaves than men will ever be.
I should like to say in conclusion that this kind of activity is a way of fulfilling from the bottom up the millennium development goals. If I had to choose between aid and economic development, I judge that the contribution of economic development is the greater.
My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord McConnell for introducing this debate. His commitment to these issues is impressive, and I was particularly pleased that he emphasised the indispensability of solidarity. He is a living example of what solidarity means. We are having this debate in the context of another debate that is taking place about the 0.7% of GDP. Of course it is clear to me that if we are going to opt for 0.7% at least and maintain it, we have to be very clear about our objectives and what the money is for.
Against that background, there is also a certain amount of discussion about the relative merits of disaggregated targets and global targets. I believe that there is a matrix of interrelated issues and that we need both. Perhaps I may make two points to set the context. We cannot give too much priority to peace, security, conflict prevention and conflict resolution. Often, conflict disrupts any chance of meaningful development. We also desperately need security sector reform so that those who are responsible for ensuring security are accountable and treated with respect, and have a culture to which human rights are absolutely central. I also happen to believe that the recent arms trade treaty is highly relevant because the availability and circulation of arms across the world is undoubtedly aggravating conflict and increasing its damage.
The UN Secretary-General recent report on post-2015 development spoke of “dignity”, “people”, “prosperity”, “the planet”, “justice” and “partnership”. The objectives were to end poverty and fight inequality, to ensure healthy lives, knowledge and the inclusion of women and children, to grow a strong, inclusive—I emphasise that word—and transformative economy, to protect our ecosystems for all societies and for our children, and to promote safe and peaceful societies and strong institutions. We should seek to capitalise global solidarity for sustainable development. Perhaps in its concern for justice, it would have been good to see even more effectively spelt out the importance of peace and the inescapable significance of fair and just international financial and trade systems, as well as the need for human rights to be seen at all times as the cornerstone of any lasting well-being.
Saferworld, of which I am a trustee, has argued that while the disciplined and essential concentration on disaggregated indicators with benchmarks so that progress can be ensured at national level is important, it is equally vital to emphasise the indispensability of a shared set of common and universal indicators. They are central to creating a monitoring system that enables the evaluation of progress at a global level.
As the principal NGOs stress in the excellent briefs with which they have supplied us, rooted as they are in their authority of engagement and experience, what is now clear beyond doubt is the inseparability of sustainable development from climate change issues. Christian Aid, Oxfam, Bond and the others all speak out unequivocally on this, and they are certainly right. Already the poorest and most vulnerable people of the world—women, children, the elderly and sick—are suffering acutely from floods, landslides, coastal erosion, drought, famine and conflict. We may not be able to stop climate change—our unforgiveable inaction and prevarication for too long has accentuated this—but we can still moderate it. However, we can do so only with urgent and decisive action.
What the World Wildlife Fund has said is certainly challenging. Its report stated that,
“currently we are consuming globally 1.5 times what our planet can replenish. If everyone globally had the same living standards as the UK, we would need three times the resources that our planet can provide. However it is the biodiversity in low income countries that has experienced the greatest decline over the last 40 years, averaging 58% and reaching 83% in Latin America. A major contributory factor to this decline is from the high consumption patterns in wealthier countries, which relies on the exploitation of natural resources in the low income countries. By taking timber, fish and agricultural products such as soy and palm oil, we are exporting our environmental impacts”.
Of course, there are specific issues to be effectively addressed. UNICEF UK underlines that, while poverty and its lifelong physical and mental stunting effect on children is bad enough, there are still the issues of trafficking, exploitation, violence, torture and child soldiers. I sometimes wonder how on earth we can live with ourselves when we are able to contemplate trips into space for the rich or, indeed, garden bridges across the Thames, when millions upon millions of children are going prematurely to their graves, never having had the opportunity to begin to be what they might have been.
Age International graphically brings home that by 2050 there will be more people over 60 in the world than children under 15. Today’s 868 million older people will have become 2 billion. It estimates that 71% of those who die of non-communicable diseases are over 60, and some 80% of non-communicable diseases occur in low-income and middle-income countries. Like other NGOs, VSO brings home that women are two-thirds of the people globally who live in extreme poverty. While women undertake two-thirds of the world’s work and produce 50% of the food, they earn only 10% of the income and own only 1% of the property of the world.
I am convinced that if we talk about 0.7%, we must talk as passionately about what is necessary to make effective use of it. The people of Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland desperately need a peaceful, stable world. For our own economic security, health and well-being it is absolutely essential. That is why we should have the post-2015 goals at the centre of our concerns—in whatever party we are—as we approach the general election.
My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, on securing this debate on the case for establishing new development goals in 2015. The noble Lord’s contribution to this House, particularly in the All-Party Group on the Great Lakes Region of Africa and other all-party groups, is highly regarded and gives insight into the challenges that face Governments. It also engages with NGOs and civil society in the international efforts to deliver the MDGs by 2015.
I declare my interests, which your Lordships may recall include being the elected chair of the Africa All-Party Group, the UK director of the advisory council for the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa, and a director of the advisory board of Transparency International in the UK.
In my remarks, I plan to stress the importance of strengthening democracy in the developing world to deliver sustainable development goals post-2015, particularly strengthening parliaments and their ability to establish transparency, accountability and probity in their dealings with the executive arms of their Governments. Before I do that, I should like to refer to a number of the issues raised with me and with other colleagues by various aid and development organisations.
Colleagues have mentioned the Bond organisation. In its paper, Inequality in a Post-2015 Framework, it points out that the new post-2015 sustainable development goals offer a critical opportunity to tackle extreme social, economic and structural inequalities, which perpetuate poverty and social exclusion across the world. Saferworld has raised its concerns about security, and UNICEF is campaigning vigorously to tackle violence against children.
The Bond organisation argues that the three dimensions of sustainable development—economic, social and environmental—should be reflected in the target and goal headlines in a balanced way. There is a call to tackle inequality and ensure that no one is left behind, with the belief that a post-2015 framework needs to be specifically aimed at reducing inequality within and between countries, as noble Lords have mentioned, and to tackle its underlying causes. Interestingly, in a recent address to the United Nations, the Pontiff, Pope Francis, raised inequality as a moral issue, condemning the “economy of exclusion” and its consequences, in views echoed around the world by religious and political leaders alike.
In addressing inequality as we seek to achieve the new SDGs by 2030, life chances and opportunities to be rewarded for your efforts and to realise your potential should not be determined solely at birth or be dependent solely on ethnicity or gender, age or geography. In that regard, I would be interested in the Minister’s views on how the UK Government think that the framework for the post-2015 development goals can best tackle inequality. Will the Government champion the proposed inequality goal in next year’s negotiations? What preparations are under away across Whitehall to respond to a global goal to reduce inequality?
As Health Poverty Action stresses in its case for new global development goals in 2015:
“Tackling inequality is fundamental to addressing poverty. This requires inequality to be mainstreamed across the framework, as well as a stand-alone goal on inequality”.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its recent report that we are running out of time to prevent catastrophic climate change, where average temperature rises exceed 2 degrees, as the noble Lord, Lord Judd, so eloquently described for us. Many developing countries are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation through increased floods and droughts and uncertain weather patterns.
There are substantial opportunities for the new framework to promote win-win outcomes by setting targets for actions that have benefits for environmental and other development outcomes. These include cutting waste, technology transfer and renewable energy. Will the Government support and champion a stand-alone goal on climate change in the new framework? What should a green thread look like in goals such as economic growth and governance? How can the United Kingdom be assured that the Government’s proposed reduction in the number of goals and targets in the framework will still achieve environmental sustainability and contribute to action against climate change and sustainable development?
The Bond Beyond 2015 UK group puts forward a strong case for accountability and participation, calling for a more comprehensive system, with the post-2015 framework underpinned by a robust and comprehensive accountability mechanism, incorporating commitments to monitor, evaluate and report on progress, applying to all countries, to all participants and to all people.
That brings me to engagement with parliaments. Throughout the United Nations Development Programme, through the Paris and Accra conferences, through the fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, and now through the first High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation in Mexico City, there has been a running dialogue on the role of parliaments in the development process. It has to be said that in some quarters of civil society, NGOs and the aid establishment, there has been a strong resistance to recognising any role at all for parliaments—the assumption being that donor and recipient nations need only work with them to achieve the aid and development goals.
Let us be clear: the only body that has the authority to approve and ratify state development—the only body that has a mandate from the people over development and state expenditure—is the parliament and the elected representatives of the country concerned. Only parliaments can insist on transparency, accountability and probity from the executive branch of government in actions taken on behalf of the people. That is why the brief on democratic governance issued by the United Nations Development Programme in January 2013 is encouraging.
In setting out the role of parliaments in defining and promoting the post-2015 development agenda, the UNDP makes the point that parliaments have often been sidelined in discussions on official development assistance—ODA—resulting in low accountability for budgeting of aid and its allocation to MDG achievement. The need for country ownership, government accountability and national policy was not sufficiently taken into account during the design and implementation of the MDGs and must now be highlighted as a requirement to ensure that a new set of objectives is attained. Those are not my words. They are the words of the United Nations Development Programme. We should listen to them.
Parliaments are at the forefront of these imperatives, because the play a critical role in meeting those requirements through their lawmaking, budgeting, and oversight functions.
My Lords, I join other noble Lords in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, on securing this debate, which could not be more timely given the stage we have reached in the negotiations towards a new set of development goals to replace the millennium development goals in 2015. I declare my interests as president of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Education for All. I would like to focus on what role Ministers are playing in ensuring that the post-2015 framework secures a good quality education for all and leaves no one behind by including and prioritising children and adults with disabilities.
I would like to start by commending Ministers on the way in which they have so far championed the concept of “leave no one behind”, which was such a powerful part of the report produced by the UN high-level panel co-chaired by the Prime Minister. I add to this a strong welcome for DfID’s new disability framework, which was launched last week at an event I chaired. I believe this will help to keep driving this agenda forward as it relates to disability. I also welcome the fact that the Government have maintained their commitment to spending 0.7% of gross national income on overseas aid. I look forward to supporting the Private Member’s Bill on this issue, which I hope will shortly reach this House.
The UK’s commitment to 0.7% has enabled us to become a leading donor to support education for the most marginalised children and young people in the world. Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, DfID will support 11 million girls and boys in school and a further 1 million of the most marginalised girls to receive a basic education. Education is fundamental to ending the poverty, discrimination and exclusion faced by disabled people in developing countries. Yet it is estimated that in most countries disabled children are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children. In Nepal, it is estimated that 85% of all children out of school are disabled. In Ethiopia, less than 3% of disabled children have access to primary education. In some countries, being disabled more than doubles the chance of never enrolling in school. Disabled children are also less likely to remain in school and transition to the next grade. The exclusion of disabled children not only denies their human right to education but makes it impossible for the world to reach the millennium development goal of universal primary education, which was due to be achieved next year. Fifty-eight million children of primary age are still out of school around the world, and progress has all but stalled. It is estimated that disabled children may make up over one-third of the out-of-school population.
Disability has long been neglected as a niche area of development, deemed by many to be too complex or too small an issue to be core to development efforts. The millennium development goals failed to mention disability at all, yet we now know that disabled people make up an estimated 15% of the global population—approximately 1 billion disabled people. Disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. Fully 80% of disabled people live in developing countries, and the UN calls them “the world’s largest minority”.
The ongoing negotiations towards post-2015 development goals, to replace the millennium development goals, therefore represent a unique opportunity to reverse the neglect of disabled people by ensuring that the new framework explicitly includes disability as a core issue, and that the framework leaves no one behind, by measuring the achievement of targets by whether they are being achieved for all, including marginalised social groups such as disabled people, girls and women, the poorest or those living in vulnerable locations.
Last week, as we have heard, the UN Secretary-General published his synthesis report, The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet. I would be grateful to hear the Minister’s comments about this crucial report and the extent to which she feels it lays the groundwork for successful intergovernmental negotiations next year—in particular, whether the Secretary-General has done enough to push forward the “leave no one behind” principle, which was somewhat lacking from the UN open working group’s final report.
With regard to education specifically, I am also conscious that twin negotiations are happening in parallel next year with the Education for All process, led by UNESCO, and other negotiations on education as part of the main post-2015 sustainable development goal negotiation. There is thus a real risk of confusion, duplication and mismatch between what these two negotiation processes come up with. What is the UK’s position on that? What do the Government want to see happen? The obvious answer is that what the two processes produce in terms of education, goals and targets should become one and the same thing, but that is not what happened last time with the Education for All goals and the millennium development goals. Millennium development goal 2, on universal primary education, was only one of the Education for All goals that covered secondary education, adult literacy, quality of education, early childhood and so on, which has resulted in a lot of focus on primary education but much less on other areas of education. I would welcome hearing the Minister’s views on these negotiation processes and how the Government are ensuring that the goals, targets and indicators agreed reflect the need to ensure both that all people get a good quality education and that no one is left behind from development and aid efforts.
After months of deliberation, the open working group outcome report includes 17 proposed goals, including one on inequality. However, many countries are pushing for these to be reduced to possibly between 10 and 12, so that the goal on inequality is thought to be at risk. Oxfam has estimated that seven out of 10 people now live in countries where inequality is growing fast, so I strongly support the retention of a goal on inequality and I very much hope that the Government will as well.
My Lords, I welcome this debate. With others, I passionately support the case for establishing new global development goals in 2015. I note with appreciation the part played by the Government and the Prime Minister in the international dialogue, and I offer my sincere thanks to the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, for tabling this debate. I welcome the passion and learning displayed in this House today.
I share the view that much has been achieved through the millennium development goals. Extreme poverty has been reduced by as much as half; there has been clear progress in the battles against malaria, tuberculosis and HIV; access to drinking water and sanitation has been improved; the participation of women politically has increased; and 90% of children in developing regions are attending primary school.
These are major achievements and should be celebrated and communicated much more effectively than is the case at present. There is a story to be told here. I have had conversations even in this House questioning the value of our overseas aid and what it can achieve. It is vital that the story be told to build hope and to present the case for change. My first call to the Government, to the charities and to the media is to use 2015, the end of the millennium development goals period, as an opportunity to tell the story more imaginatively and to describe in clear and imaginative ways the change that has happened. I ask the Minister in reply to offer us some reflection on the ways in which the Government will communicate all that has happened.
The Church of England is part of the worldwide Anglican communion. Bishops and other senior leaders are daily in touch with churches all over the world. Two days ago, I heard a vivid presentation from eight of our senior Anglican women leaders, who recently spent 10 days living and working in Kerala in India with Christian Aid. They were inspired by the progress they saw there, particularly in gender participation and its effect on development, and they inspired others. Last year I had the privilege of spending time with a church in the West Indies and observed it still wrestling with extremes of poverty and deprivation and the rebuilding of a society still profoundly affected by generations of past slavery.
As to communication, the new global development goals clearly call for a fresh way of seeing the world. For much of the 20th century, development has been about the rich giving to the poor in charitable aid. The world was seen and described for these purposes in a series of binary categories: rich and poor nations; the one-third or two-thirds world; the global north and the global south; the haves and the have-nots. These binary categories are now outdated, though they still have a powerful hold on our minds and our vocabularies. Our mental maps of the way the world is and the way it could be both need to be redrawn. The vision for the new global development goals needs to be and is of one world that is interdependent, developing and searching for pathways to sustainable, equitable growth and the flourishing of all.
The threat of climate change, the desire for sustainable growth, digital communications and the movements of peoples have all contributed to this sense of one world and the desire for a good globalisation. It is a vision profoundly rooted in the Judaeo-Christian vision of the world: a family of diverse nations, cherishing peace, seeking justice, nurturing wisdom and looking for the flourishing of all.
Finally, I highlight four vital themes for the new global development goals, also pointed to by others. I support and commend these four key principles developed by Christian Aid in a most helpful briefing paper which I commend to your Lordships’ House. First, I have already mentioned the need to battle the evil giant of climate change and to seek carbon reduction as a major goal immediately and for the next generation. If we fail to place this sustainable development front and centre, the effects on life on earth will be profound. Secondly, I would urge that gender justice must be a stand-alone goal. There must be targets to end violence against women and girls, increase participation and ensure economic justice for women. Thirdly, I support with others the principle that no one should be left behind in the eradication of poverty and the pursuit of justice. In particular, the world needs still better and swifter ways of responding to human and natural disasters and building resilience in the poorest communities. Fourthly and finally, there should be a renewed focus on global equity with a stand-alone goal of a fair global economic system and with targets on illicit financial flows and on global tax justice.
Many years before the Christian era, the remarkable prophet Isaiah of Jerusalem shared a radical vision of what it would mean to end poverty and live in peace. He prophesied:
“they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks”.
Conflict resolution, as other noble Lords have said, is closely related to sustainable prosperity.
We are citizens of one world. Much has been achieved; we need to tell that story. However, there is still much to be done. We need to set goals for gender justice, for global equity, to leave no one behind, and to close the gap still further between rich and poor.
My Lords, I, too, am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, for securing this debate, and congratulate him on the timing, which comes just a few days after the UN Secretary-General’s much anticipated synthesis report. There can be no more consistent and committed friend of international development than the noble Lord.
The topic of today’s debate is very similar to that of one I initiated in October last year, and the intervening year has been both momentous and challenging for the world, with a number of highs and lows. In June, the UK hosted the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, and here I take the opportunity to pay tribute to my noble friend Lady Helic, who was the inspiration behind the event and who remains committed to driving the agenda forward. We look forward to hearing from her in this Chamber before long.
In July the UK hosted the first and very successful Girl Summit, aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage within a generation. UNICEF co-hosted the event, and I declare my interest and pride as a board member of UNICEF UK. The noble Lord, Lord Judd, has said much of what I had intended to say about the current UNICEF campaign on ending child violence. The emergence of the Ebola outbreak and the rising threat of extremism have demonstrated the need to continue with a sustainable development agenda to ensure that the risk of disease and terrorism are lessened through education and equality for both men and women.
I take this opportunity also to thank the many NGOs and their staff and partners who are working in the field to beat Ebola, and in particular to commend Restless Development, of whom I am proud to be a patron, whose efforts in Sierra Leone are growing day by day. Its 1,700 volunteer mobilisers have gone through extensive training, equipping them with vital skills to bring life-saving messages to more than 3 million people in the largest social mobilisation ever to take place in Sierra Leone.
To return the topic of the debate, no speech about the successor agenda can be delivered without referencing the historic impact of the MDGs. In 1990, a decade before they were launched, more than 12 million children died each year before reaching the age of five; in 2013, fewer than seven million did. As other noble Lords mentioned, maternal and child mortality has fallen by almost 50% since 1990, and 2.3 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water during that time.
The reason the MDGs have been so successful is that they served to focus world attention on a handful of goals: eight of them, to be precise, articulated in 374 words. They communicated to the world that these eight objectives would be the world’s priorities between 2000 and 2015, and as a result, billions of dollars in development funds flowed into efforts to tackle the challenges. That said, there is much more to do, and we should not be distracted from the need to finish the job.
International development combined with globalisation has opened up many doors into and out of the developing world, as other noble Lords have said, and significant progress has been made to reduce the number of people living in poverty. However, the opportunities have not always been equally shared. Many people are still locked out. Many women, children and disabled people, as the noble Lord, Lord Low, so eloquently said, and many others have been prevented from taking advantage of the progress that has been made.
I mentioned the Girl Summit and I pay tribute to the Secretary of State for her commitment to gender empowerment and to advancing the rights of girls and women as a top priority. I also welcome the fact that the UK is campaigning for a dedicated gender goal that addresses the causes of gender inequality and gender-sensitive targets integrated in that goal.
Earlier this year, in September, I was in a remote village in Zambia, where two young girls were reporting to the village elders what their hopes, worries and concerns were. They were the only girls in the room—and I was the only woman in the room. The chief and the other elders were, I thought, rather dismissive of what the girls wanted. I said to them, “I think that you should take these women, these young girls, on to your council in order to better reflect what girls really want in their community”. They said they would—and I hope they did.
Of 163 million illiterate young people in the world, 63% are female. Each year almost 5.5 million girls aged 16 to 19 give birth, effectively ending their chances of getting an education and earning a living. The World Bank study of 100 countries showed that every 1% increase in the proportion of women with secondary education boosts a country’s annual per capita income growth by about 0.3%.
As we know, DfID’s record on assisting women throughout the world has been exceptionally strong. Due to the department’s focus on the women and girls development agenda, more than 14 million women now have access to financial services, almost 3 million girls are in primary education and more than 4 million women are using modern methods of family planning. As an officer of the APPG on Population, Development and Reproductive Health, I would be remiss not to focus a few remarks on sexual and reproductive health and rights and the significant economic and social gains for individuals and families.
There are 225 million women and young girls living in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy but are not able to use modern contraception. The consequences are huge: 754 million unintended pregnancies, 28 million unplanned births and 20 million unsafe abortions every year. Investing in SRHR has one of the highest rates of return in international development. For every additional dollar invested in preventing an unintended pregnancy, nearly $1.50 is saved in pregnancy-related care. Additional savings accrue across all sectors, from healthcare to education and employment. As Governments and international agencies consider and negotiate the goals for 2015 and beyond, I urge them to prioritise universal access to SRHR.
To sum up, the UK objective for post-2015 is to agree a simple, inspiring, measurable set of goals centred on eradicating extreme poverty. The goals should have sustainable development integrated across the framework, and should include what is referred to as the golden thread—conflict and corruption, justice and the rule of law, property rights, and open and accountable government. These goals should be supported by a new global partnership that ensures that together we mobilise a range of actors with sufficient resources from both public and private organisations.
The 17 goals and 169 targets produced by the Open Working Group are too diffuse, and the UK’s priority should be to define a more concise and compelling goals framework. We should beware a kitchen-sink approach that seeks to appease all the interest groups. In a world of increasing resource constraints, such an approach would be a recipe for disaster. The danger that countries will cherry-pick, or be subsumed, or throw up their hands and do nothing at all, must be avoided. Never before has the world had to face such a complex agenda in a single year. This unique opportunity will not come again in our generation. It must not be wasted.
My Lords, I too thank my noble friend Lord McConnell for this debate, and for the enormous dedication that he has given over the years to this important subject. I would like to bring to the debate my experience as a former member of the Development Committee of the European Parliament, as the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the mid-term review of the MDGs, and as the leader of the delegation to the UN on the post-2015 MDGs.
I shall start by going away from my text and saying that if we bring forward the achievable and the attainable, we shall leave behind the majority of those who look to us to ensure that no one is left behind. Arguably, the MDGs have raised awareness of ending global poverty as an urgent challenge and a priority for global action. Assessments of the progress made in attaining the current MDGs show that, in the new post-2015 framework, a strong linkage between poverty eradication, fighting inequalities—all of them—and the promotion of sustainable development, as well as a single and universal set of goals with differentiated approaches, are crucial.
Poverty reduction is uneven and inequalities exist within countries, let alone between countries. This represents a major challenge, especially with the dubious concept of labelling countries “middle income” according to their GDP rather than real poverty, gender and inequality indexes. Access to early childhood development, education and training of the highest attainable quality for every child, young person and adult is an essential prerequisite for breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty and inequality. Yet sadly, as has been said, little progress has been made regarding gender equality and the empowerment of women. Globally, women and girls constitute a majority of those living in extreme poverty. Gender equality and women’s rights are necessary conditions for the success of the post-2015 global development framework. It is staggering—indeed, shameful—that every day an estimated 800 women in the world die due solely to complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
Ownership of all the millennium development goals and the post-2015 development goals is essential. The EU and its member states, such as our own country, are the largest donors of development aid and should remain the driving force during the next phase of the negotiations under the UN, promoting in particular the human rights-based approach, based on equality, non-discrimination, participation and inclusion in the design and implementation of the post-2015 framework. A human rights-based approach is the only way forward. That is why I welcome the inclusion of the promotion of a human rights-based and people-centred approach among the SDGs proposed by the UN open working group, reinforcing the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights of all people, without discrimination on any grounds, starting with the fundamental right to dignity of all human beings, with particular attention paid to: the human rights of women and girls, including the promotion of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights; the protection of and respect for the rights of migrants and minorities, including LGBTI people and people living with HIV; and the importance of respecting and promoting the rights of disabled people.
Now is not the time to fail. That is why, sadly, I have to express real concern about the approach and attitude taken by the Government in advance of the UN September summit both at EU level and in New York. We have achieved much before because the EU took a single approach after long and timely discussions. That is not happening now. I am reliably informed—although I hope the Minister will inform me that I am reliably misinformed—that the Government’s intention is to reduce the number of goals proposed by the open working group, and to cluster them. That would not be helpful.
The UK Government are also not happy with the universality of the framework, which means that it would apply—this is extremely important—to all states and that targets would be fixed for every single state, including the United Kingdom. I cannot see the problem with such an approach: that which we demand of others, we should demand of ourselves and for ourselves.
To have weight in the debate at the UN, where there will be much opposition, it is important that the EU speaks with one voice on the issue. The United Kingdom Government are preventing that at the moment as they bypass the EU representatives in the negotiations in New York. It is one thing to complement influence, quite another to undermine it. I look forward to the detailed response of the Minister on these issues.
The draft conclusions are to be adopted imminently. They are very ambitious, especially when it comes to human rights and fighting inequalities. These conclusions need our support. However, I am again reliably informed that there are suggestions that the UK Government want to remove references to fighting inequalities. Sadly, I must end on this note: it is regrettable that on 25 November Conservative Members of the European Parliament voted against such an approach as I have outlined in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. I hope, indeed, that this is not a foretaste of what is to come.
My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Cashman, that if we reduce the number of goals and the number of tasks, we may be in danger of losing some very important principles. I also agree with him on the need to tackle inequality, as a fan of the Equality Trust, and on the proposition that he carefully enunciated that unequal societies are not happy societies. Many of the evils that we suffer in the developed world are a product of our failure to tackle inequalities in our own society.
I also regret that, although the Secretary-General refers to this in his report, The Road to Dignity by 2030, published last week, there is an omission in the main goals, and even in the subsidiary tasks that are set out before us in the SDGs, of any reference to the greatest threat to the objectives of ending poverty, addressing climate change and keeping the rise in global temperature below 2 degrees centigrade, which is the inexorable rise in the number of human beings. I do not see any explicit recognition of that in the Secretary-General’s report.
In the draft sustainable development goals, also published last week by the UN open working group, goal 13 is to take,
“urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.
This is recognised as the primary responsibility of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and I think there needs to be stronger linkage between the two strategies. Is it really possible to achieve 7% GDP growth in the least developed countries, and should we not distinguish between growth that requires consumption of energy, such as manned space travel or Formula 1 or nice garden bridges over the River Thames, and beneficial growth, such as the development of tidal power which could provide 42% of Scotland’s electricity?
On the continued growth of the human race, goal 3.7 calls for,
“universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes”.
If we coupled that with goal 5, which aims to:
“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”,
women would have the right to control their own fertility, and have access to the means of doing so. As the noble Baroness, Lady Jenkin, said, 225 million women in the world do not have access to the means of controlling their own fertility. I am very glad to see that that is part of the new SDGs. In the developed world people have control of their own fertility. The problem is that there are religious and cultural obstacles to women’s equality in sub-Saharan Africa and the Islamic world that will not be easily overcome. There is good evidence to show that as women get better educated they will begin to take control of their own fertility, but where there is a long history of male dominance, that is not going to be easy to achieve.
I entirely agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Judd, when he said that conflict prevents any meaningful development. The emergence of extremist organisations such as al-Shabaab, AQAP, the Daesh and Boko Haram should be recognised explicitly as a major obstacle to women’s emancipation. Former members of the Secretary-General’s high-level panel, in an open letter in September, stressed:
“Freedom from fear and violence is the most basic human entitlement, and people demand peace and good governance as a core component of their well-being, not an optional extra”.
The nearest we get to this is goal 16, calling for “peaceful and inclusive societies”, but the language does not spell it out. The necessity of combating ideologies of hatred, murder and the subjection of women, and blasphemously claiming to be the true voice of Islam, needs to be on the final version of the SDGs presented to the General Assembly for approval next September.
My grandfather, who was born in 1834, had 12 children. They had large families in the 19th century because they expected high infant mortality. That is no doubt one of the factors behind the huge birth rates today in many less developed countries. But we know what needs to be done to complete the reduction by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, in the under-five mortality rate—goal 4 of the MDGs—in the countries that have not got there and to take the process much further. The WHO recommends 11 antigens for universal infant use and this should be incorporated in the post-2015 agenda.
That goal should be achievable even for the poorest countries with the help of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, to which I am proud to say this country is one of the largest contributors. But can my noble friend explain why in the five years 2011 to 2016 we contributed £1.3 billion, and now that has been reduced to £1 billion in the next funding round for the years 2016 to 2020? If I may refer to the previous debate, the Chancellor has had no difficulty in signing up to the renewal of the contribution to the former fund for AIDS, TB and malaria, so he ought to be able to do the same for GAVI.
I note that Germany, Canada, Norway and the Netherlands have all announced larger increases in the pledges they intend to make at the replenishment conference chaired by Chancellor Merkel in January. Are we really going to be the only country to give less this time, when the Secretary of State says:
“Investing in immunisation is one of the most cost-effective ways of saving lives and improving living standards, health and the global economy”?
The APPG on Child Health and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, of which I am co-chair, would like to see in the next 15 years the adoption of a more holistic approach to child health, integrating the vaccination programmes with the delivery of the WASH agenda for clean water, sanitation and hygiene, where there is still huge potential for disease prevention. Half the girls who drop out of school in sub-Saharan Africa do so because WASH is not provided. Many more drop out or miss school when they reach the age of menstruation for the same reason. We would like to see hygiene added to goal 6. This would be the place to refer to the co-ordination of the delivery of the WHO antigens with the WASH programme.
We also believe that there is tremendous potential in product development partnerships. I mentioned in the previous debate the example of GSK’s development, with the help of the Gates Foundation and many others in the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, of the world’s first anti-malaria drug RTS,S. In phase three trials, the drug reduced incidence of the disease by a quarter in six to 12 week-old infants at first vaccination, and by half in young children aged five to 17 months at first vaccination. In July, GSK sought an opinion from the European Medicines Agency on the quality, safety and efficiency of the drug. Assuming that the reply is positive, the WHO is likely to issue a policy recommendation before the end of next year, allowing African countries to develop schedules for the delivery of RTS,S and for their national regulatory agencies to consider applications from the manufacturers. Children could receive the vaccine by 2016, saving hundreds of lives.
There is broad reference to multi-stakeholder partnerships at the very end of the open working group’s draft list of sustainable development goals. My final plea to my noble friend, when she comes to wind up, is whether DfID would consider proposing that a reference to PDPs, which have such enormous potential, be added to goal 17 as a shining example of what these partnerships can achieve.
My Lords, 2015 is set to be an important year for the UN in what is already proving to be an exceptionally testing period for the organisation. Two major sets of decisions will need to be taken next year: those on the policy framework to succeed the millennium development goals, which we are debating today, and those on climate change. Those two sets of decisions will have crucial implications for all the world’s citizens, whether they live in developed or developing countries. That is what makes today’s debate in the name of the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, so timely, topical and welcome, certainly to me. Inadequate policy prescriptions—or, worse still, failure to agree on anything meaningful at all in either of these negotiations—would have seriously negative consequences for the world’s prosperity and its security for a long period ahead.
When the millennium development goals were set 15 years ago in 2000, many regarded them, with a cynical shrug, as just more warm words from an organisation not short of that commodity. Some still take that view. This morning I read an article in Prospect magazine which suggested that the setting of these goals was a pretty worthless exercise—an article that completely ignored the distinction between the specificity of the millennium development goals of 2000 and the discredited, very general goals set in previous decades.
In any case, I think the millennium development goals have turned out to be a lot more significant than that prognosis. They set a course that has seen many millions of people lifted out of poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries, which have also seen remarkable improvements in education and health. However, those benefits have been too narrowly spread and too heavily concentrated in the rising economies of Asia, leaving what has been called the “bottom billion” of the world’s population—most of them in Africa—largely unaffected. Daily we are reminded by events—by the Ebola epidemic in west Africa and by the chaos and threats of genocide or violence in the Middle East and in parts of Africa—of how far the world still has to go and how fragile any progress made on development issues can prove to be if basic security cannot be addressed. I join those who have underlined that point in numerous contributions.
The case for setting out recalibrated goals for the period ahead seems, to me, unanswerable. For example, the Ebola outbreak has highlighted how important it is not only to conduct high-profile campaigns such as those against malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis, as the previous debate underlined, but to give far more emphasis to general provision of public health facilities.
In other areas that so far have been either neglected or inadequately treated—for example, removing discrimination against the disabled, on which I support every word that my noble friend Lord Low said, and discrimination against women and girls—clear objectives need to be set out. In some cases, which have emerged in prominence only since 2000—for instance, bringing the benefits of the digital economy and the revolutions in communications technology to a wider range of countries and a wider range of social groups within them—the challenge is to define sensible and sustainable goals. Those are the challenges that I see in 2015 and I hope that whichever Government emerge from next May’s general election will measure up to them.
However, we also need to realise that if we cannot respond effectively to the challenges of the climate change conference in Paris at the end of next year, much of what we set out to achieve in the form of development goals will prove to be unrealisable. A world beset by coastal flooding from rising sea levels, desertification and catastrophic climatic events will not be a world capable of achieving sustainable development. A world in which civil and sectarian strife spreads across whole regions, uncontrolled by the rules-based institutions that we have so laboriously built up since the end of the Second World War and the end of the Cold War, will fare no better. So the agenda that we face goes a lot wider than the simple setting of development goals. If a new policy framework of development goals is to be worth while, I suggest that we will need to ensure, in addition, that it does not just consist of words on paper but that the commitments subscribed to in New York in 2015 are implemented and monitored. Surely, there needs to be effective monitoring of the way in which both developed and developing countries, and both donors and recipients, fulfil the commitments they have undertaken.
Our own record in recent years, in particular the action taken by the coalition Government to ensure, even in a period of austerity, that we achieved the target of 0.7% of gross national income for our official development aid, is one of which we should be proud; but it is not unchallenged. No doubt, as the political debate hots up before the election and concentrates on future public spending projections, it will come under threat again. I very much hope that this House will now match the action taken in the other place by passing into law our commitment to the figure of 0.7% and that when she replies the noble Baroness will say that the Government—as they did in the other place—will lend their support to such a measure. I suggest, too, that it would be good if all three main parties in Parliament were to make sticking to that commitment a non-partisan objective in their manifestos. After all, it is a lot easier to sustain the commitment to 0.7% than it ever was to reach it in the first place. If we can do that, we will be well placed to give the lead in the debates over the 2015 development goals that will take place in the European Union, at the G8, at the G20 and, of course, at the United Nations for final decision. I hope that we will be there, giving that lead.
My Lords, like others, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, on raising this very important issue today. As the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself has said, the millennium development goals have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. During the past 14 years, we have witnessed enormous progress in tackling some of the world’s most prevalent ills and providing for the needs of those in the very poorest and most disadvantaged communities. As other noble Lords have said, the setting of these ambitious and measurable targets has resulted in a worldwide halving of the numbers living in extreme poverty. Fatal diseases have been tackled and millions more people today have access to sanitation, clean water and primary education. It is important, therefore, that the progress made is strongly acknowledged and celebrated, but this is not a job finished; this is work in progress.
Although the targets were projected to be met by 2015, still around 700 million people across the world live in abject poverty and without many of the things such as healthcare and secondary education that we in the UK take for granted. As Amina Mohammed, Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser on the post-2015 development planning acknowledges, the world has changed radically in the last 15 years and we must now expand on progress, build on existing momentum and learn the lessons that the MDGs have given us. This is not the moment to give up the fight.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his recently released synthesis report, stressed the need for a renewed global partnership for development between the rich and poor nations in the context of the post-2015 agenda. Thus we need to look ahead, establish new goals and finish the job in hand. This will need a new approach, which needs to include caring for the environment and protecting the world that we live in —as the Secretary-General has made clear, you cannot have true economic development that does not recognise the importance of the earth’s natural systems, because climate change causes crops to fail and people to starve in poor countries.
At Rio+20, member states agreed to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals—the SDGs—to build upon the MDGs and converge with the post-2015 development agenda. Whereas the MDGs concentrated just on developing countries, to really create a sustainable agenda we will need to treat people as active partners in development rather than passive beneficiaries of aid. It will need all countries, both developing and developed, to commit to good governance, rule of law and the fight against corruption, with targets and indicators relevant to every country and region. It will need everyone to be engaged to help deliver this: Governments, civil society, all ages—the young and old—and especially the marginalised groups, because we must ensure that no one is left behind, regardless of age, gender or ability. It is only by working together that we can deliver a truly transformational approach.
Some of the MDGs have delivered more progress than others, but one of the areas in which we still have a significant way to go is that of gender equality and the empowerment of women, which was millennium development goal number three. Globally, women are disproportionately impoverished and, as the noble Lord, Lord Judd, told us, make up two-thirds of those still living in extreme poverty, form 60% of the working poor but earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than 2% of the world’s property. Sixty-one per cent of the 123 million young people who lack basic reading skills are women. A survey of 63 developing countries also found that girls are more likely to be out of school than boys among both primary and lower secondary age groups.
Why is gender equality so important? It is because women have the ability to transform their communities if they are given the right tools and support. As Brigham Young once famously said:
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation”.
I find it incredible that there is still no country in the world where women are equal in political, economic and social terms, not even in the developed West. This is a missed opportunity. Even here at home, it is projected that by equalising men’s and women’s economic participation rates we could add more than 10% to the size of the British economy by 2030. In developed countries, gender wage gaps also persist. Only one in five parliamentarians worldwide is a woman; and VSO tells me that on current rates of progress women will not be equally represented until 2065 and will not make up half the world’s leaders until 2134. Domestic violence everywhere is often all too commonplace, with 35% of women across the world having experienced violence. A woman who has to fight for her existence at home has no prospect of working towards greater rights, higher status within society or helping her community.
In some countries, violence has become a pandemic and, where conflict occurs, rape is all too often used as a weapon of war. Sexual violence destroys lives, shatters families and breaks up communities. I therefore congratulate William Hague on his initiative to end sexual violence in conflict. He has put the spotlight on a war crime that has been ignored for years.
Today in war, 90% of the casualties are civilian—mostly women and children, yet women are nearly always excluded from the peace processes. Some 125 million women and girls have undergone FGM and one in nine girls in developing countries is married before the age of 15. The reality of this usually means that their education is finished and their prospects curtailed; many are condemned to a life of domestic servitude. Still, every day globally, around 800 women die in childbirth.
This was brought home to me when I visited Mali last week. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world; it has a very high illiteracy rate and many women are married off at an extremely young age. Most girls there have undergone FGM and, as there is little access to contraception, they will end up having a large number of children. It is hard for the women there to do anything but just concentrate on their survival and that of their children.
Too many countries today still have a patriarchal society, with men dominating all the leadership positions, and with the societal norms and values working against women. I therefore welcome the recommendation of the open working group—established to develop the sustainable development goals for future consideration by the UN General Assembly—for a standalone goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women, a goal that so many of us have been calling for.
This new gender goal—goal number 5—unlike that of the MDG, has targets aiming to create policies and laws to ensure an end to discrimination and the elimination of violence and harmful practices, such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation. They also aim to ensure women’s full participation in decision-making at all levels and in ownership of land and economic resources. In particular, I welcome the reference to universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and reproductive rights, on which there has been pushback from some countries in recent years. This goal also emphasises the need to address stereotypes, mindsets and attitudes that reinforce traditional gender roles. I am delighted that not only has our own Government Equalities Office stated its support for this but it has also been championed by our Secretary of State for International Development and very much welcomed by NGOs and women’s groups.
We all hope that this strong and explicit goal on gender equality will remain in the final post-2015 framework. However, we are not there yet and intergovernmental negotiations will continue into next year when the final post-2015 development agenda is to be adopted at the summit scheduled for September 2015. Therefore, things can still change—and slip backwards—and some fear that global leadership is not strong enough. We look to the UK to provide a strong lead by setting out an inspirational vision for the future so that agreement can be reached for a renewed global partnership for development, which will enable us all, together, to meet the challenges facing us around the world today and help to transform the lives of those who live in poverty.
My Lords, in thanking the noble Lord, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, for this opportunity to bring us up to date on the language and methodology of development goals, I wish to concentrate on what I believe to be one of the most important areas. That is the population factor, which in many parts of the world is the key element—but not the only contributor—affecting development. It is also a key to sustainability in the long term. I shall focus on two aspects of this. The first is the recent responsible prediction, endorsed by the United Nations Population Fund—UNFPA—that world population is not expected to level off this century, as previously expected, but will reach a much higher total before beginning to come down in the next century.
The other aspect I will highlight is the recent report by the Guttmacher Institute—again, together with the UNFPA—called Adding It Up, which deals with the costs and benefits of investing in sexual and reproductive health. I am hoping that in both of these areas, the final version of the development goals will be framed to emphasise the importance of these aspects.
On the first, I have always tried to avoid trading numbers in population matters. The concept of world population has limited use, as there are so many regional and local variables. A new prediction in a recent paper in Science, with UNFPA support, is that the present world population of 7.2 billion will increase to 9.6 billion in mid-century and to almost 11 billion by the end of the century. This is against the more conventional scenario until now that the figure would level off at around 9 billion in the mid-century and thereafter decrease. The use of talking in these terms is then to look at how and why the figures have changed. Not everyone would support the new hypothesis leading to that change. All these predictions are expressed in terms of the probability of their being right.
What has changed is that the remarkable rate of fertility decline in both Asia and Latin America has not been copied in Africa, and in particular in sub-Saharan Africa. In some African countries, decline has stopped. The ideal family size there seems to remain on average about 4.6 children, and the level of meeting the unmet need for contraception seems to have remained unimproved for the last 20 years. These are generalisations, but they include populous countries such as Nigeria. The figures are merely signposts to highlight where things are and are not changing, whatever the cause.
The same paper also deals with the related but opposite matter largely in developed countries, and that is the potential support ratio—roughly the number of workers per retiree. Where there have been fast declines in population numbers, support for the older members of a population is put under pressure. The most extreme projected case is Japan, where the proportion will be 1.5 workers for each retiree. Both fast declines and fast increases in population produce their own pressures, but in both rational human intervention is possible, if not simple.
As I have said, these new and possibly alarming figures have been disputed, partly on the grounds that background assumptions might not remain unchanged over the lengthy projected period. For example, education and even climate change might alter the outcomes. But it is accepted that, over time, the UNFPA population projections, which are updated every two years, have been broadly accurate. I mention all this, and the new increased projection, partly to remind us that the common supposition that the size of the population is somehow magically sorting itself out into a kind of natural equilibrium is almost certainly not the case. In sub-Saharan Africa in particular there is still a large, unmet need for modern contraceptive services.
That brings me to the recent Guttmacher Institute report, also supported by UNFPA, on the costs and benefits of reproductive services. The commonly accepted figure for unmet need is around 200 million women wanting to avoid pregnancy but not being able to access contraception. Here the figure is confirmed in some detail as around 225 million. That is apparently one-quarter of all such women of reproductive age and is the same for the whole range of reproductive services and related health benefits. The report quantifies the investment needed to provide proper health services and the savings that would be made by so doing. The situation varies widely region by region. Providing all women with the healthcare they need would be cost-effective. The general conclusion is that for every £1 invested in contraceptive services, £1.50 is saved in consequential outcomes.
Finally, I urge that the ultimate version of the new development goals should emphasise the need for greater investment in sexual and reproductive health services. These investments are cost-effective, save lives and are the cornerstone of sustainable development.
My Lords, I, too, thank my noble friend Lord McConnell for initiating this timely debate. The EU is calling 2015 the European Year for Development, with the intergovernmental negotiations commencing in January and with a view to finalising work in July ahead of the September summit to determine global plans for the next 15 years. As my noble friend said, last week the United Nations Secretary-General published an advance copy of his synthesis report which draws upon the Open Working Group proposals for 17 goals and 169 targets. Six essential elements are identified, although the Secretary-General does not detail explicitly how these elements should be used in the negotiations. I ask the Minister: what initial assessment the Government have made of the implications of the UN Secretary-General’s report? I share the concerns of my noble friend Lord Cashman. Given that the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister have both commented on a number of occasions that 17 goals and 169 targets are “too many”, what will the Minister’s priorities be in the post-2015 negotiations? Which goals would she be happy to see either merged or discarded from the final list?
As my noble friends have said, our country’s commitment to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable is not just morally right; it is in Britain’s national interest. Just as important is how our actions can help shape global opinion. We need to convince those who are able to do much more and empower others to stand on their own two feet. We need global agreement on tax transparency, need to ensure that companies pay their tax in-country, and need to support Governments to collect their own taxes to reduce aid dependency and foster good government. If we are to unlock development, the UK must push for bold and visionary global agreement on development over the next 15 years.
As we have heard in today’s debate, there are three vital areas that are the greatest areas of inequality that the world faces. First, we must set new global priorities to give everyone universal access to healthcare. Secondly, climate change is a development issue and must form an integral part of global effort over the next 15 years. Finally, we must protect human rights, as my noble friend Lord Judd so ably argued, working to help eliminate exploitation, to protect the rights of women and girls and to protect workers’ rights.
Ensuring that everyone in the world has access to affordable healthcare is essential to end poverty. It is deeply unfair that 3 million people die every year because of a lack of vaccine for preventable illnesses. As we heard in the previous debate, there have been 1.5 million AIDS-related deaths, when we have treatments that could have kept those people alive. Three-quarters of those living in low-income countries lack access to decent healthcare. In India, a middle-income country, the situation is the same. Universal health coverage reduces inequality and would prevent 100 million people a year from falling into poverty. It is the bedrock of human development. This year the Ebola virus has killed thousands across west Africa. The UK’s response to the humanitarian health crisis has been strong. However, the main issue here was health systems not being resourced or strong enough to deal with the issue. Universal health coverage, whereby there is access for all without people having to suffer financial hardship when accessing it, is the key way that we can make countries more resilient to health concerns such as Ebola before they become widespread emergencies. UHC is a clear and quantifiable goal. Will the Minister support UHC in the language of the health goal in the SDGs?
I turn now to climate change, which hits the world’s poorest people the hardest. It causes severe weather events. The poor live in areas that are most affected by climate change and lack the resilience to cope with drought, flood and food insecurity. Given the clear links between climate change, inequality, poverty and economic development—the most recent example, which my noble friend Lord McConnell referred to, being Typhoon Hagupit, or Ruby as it is known in the Philippines—yet again it appears that those who had the least were those who have lost the most. Does the Minister agree that a post-2015 agenda without a stand-alone goal on climate change will undermine the potential of the entire agenda?
Empowering countries to stand on their own two feet is not just about new powers for more Governments; it should result in changes for working people as well. Decent jobs under decent conditions for decent pay are a vital part of development, providing a permanent route out of poverty. But there are 168 million child labourers working across the world, and those who work in developing countries often work in ill defined jobs in the so-called grey economy. Formal employment would better ensure workers’ rights and avoid exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous companies. We need to stop clothing made by people working in horrendous conditions reaching our markets and we must demand action from major companies to stamp out child labour from their supply chains. Labour will reverse this Government’s decision to withdraw funding from the International Labour Organization and we will work with the International Trade Union Confederation to ensure that those who want to work hard can get on.
Finally, as we have heard in the debate, almost half the world’s wealth, totalling $110 trillion, is now owned by just 1% of the population. Seven out of 10 people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the past 30 years. As we have also heard, gender inequality is the most persistent form of prejudice but inequalities can occur across urban/rural divides or have different ethnic, religious or racial group dimensions. Discrimination on the grounds of disability is also a critical factor fuelling inequality, as was pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Low. Given that inequality is an issue of pandemic proportions—which goes beyond simply ensuring that no one is left behind—I ask the Minister whether her Government are willing to commit to the need for a stand-alone goal on inequality in the post-2015 agenda.
My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, for securing this debate. He has a formidable record in this field, as have all others who have participated in the debate. I knew that it would be an extremely well informed and deeply thoughtful debate, and it has proved to be so. What shines through is an understanding of why this is so important. The right reverend Prelate urges us on in communicating what has been achieved since 2000, even with the financial crash of 2008 onwards, in the relief of poverty. He is surely right.
As noble Lords know, the year ahead of us is absolutely key—as the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, made clear, not only on MDGs but on climate change and many other issues. A key moment, and the culmination of the subject of this debate, will be the summit in September 2015, where the world will seek to come together to agree a new set of sustainable development goals to take us to 2030. We believe that the international community has a duty to produce an inspiring framework that will put us on a sustainable development pathway to eradicate extreme poverty within a generation, building on the successes of the MDGs.
The United Kingdom has played an active role in the post-2015 development process to date. From my right honourable friend the Prime Minister’s co-chairmanship of the high-level panel to the recent Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, we have been extremely active. With the formal intergovernmental consultations on post-2015 running from January to July 2015, and with the report of the UN Secretary-General on post-2015 released last week, today has been a timely opportunity to reflect on the progress the international community has made so far.
First, I will touch on the work of the open working group. Over 13 sessions, member states in the group discussed a range of issues and inputs into the post-2015 agenda, and ultimately its July report proposed a framework of 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets. The UK Government have welcomed the breadth and balance of this report and there are a number of extremely positive aspects to it. There is a strong focus in the proposals on the eradication of extreme poverty, and welcome goals on gender equality, peaceful and inclusive societies, and access to justice. There are some useful objectives on environmental sustainability and we will continue to work so that this is integrated within the agenda.
As my noble friend Lady Jenkin pointed out, the power of the MDGs was in their simplicity, and the ability for planning and finance ministries to take them in their entirety and to help define their national plans, rather than to pick and choose which targets were most politically expedient. We have heard from statistical experts and implementing ministries in developing countries that turning the current 169 targets into meaningful, measurable and manageable action on the ground would be nearly impossible. Making long lists—and we know this very well in this House—can result in whatever is missed out not being counted. This is why there is an argument for an overarching inclusive approach. Over the coming months, we look forward to working with other member states, civil society and technical experts to ensure that what we agree in September is a genuinely workable framework.
As the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, said, what we surely cannot allow is failing to agree something meaningful. As noble Lords have noted, the UN Secretary-General released his report, The Road to Dignity by 2030. Tasked with synthesising the many contributions to the post-2015 discussions to date, the Secretary-General has called on member states to strive, with the highest level of ambition, to end poverty, transform all lives and protect the planet. As the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, and others have said, he set out the six essential elements that member states should strive towards: dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice, and partnership. The elements can provide a helpful organising framework for the negotiations to come, and they point towards a focused outcome on post-2015. It is important that the final framework is inspiring and that we can communicate it. That certainly provides food for thought.
We have also been clear on the need for a framework that can be monitored and implemented—again, as the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, said. I note the Secretary-General’s proposal for a technical review of targets to ensure that each is framed in language that is specific, measurable and achievable. One of the downsides of the MDGs was in effect the use of averages, which left many behind—although that was never intended. The UK remains a strong advocate of the principle “leave no one behind” and it is notable that the Secretary-General’s report also supports this approach.
Leaving no one behind must be, in our view, a key to the new goals. The noble Lord, Lord Judd, flagged an ageing world population. We know that around the world, as the world of work changes and as cities grow, there is a serious danger of older people, possibly increasingly infirm, being left out as economies may grow. Women are so often left behind, as we have heard. LGBT people may be left behind. Those with disabilities may be left behind. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Low, for his tribute for what we have done in terms of disabilities, particularly what my right honourable friend Lynne Featherstone has done to ensure that we include those with disabilities. As the noble Lord, Lord Low, notes, 15% of the global population has a disability and 80% of those with disabilities live in developing countries. That is why leaving no one behind is so essential.
Many noble Lords will recall the high-level panel’s proposal that no post-2015 target should be considered achieved unless met by all relevant social and economic groups and we are pleased that this has been reinforced in this latest report. Building on this, the report also emphasises the importance of data to the post-2015 agenda. The UK has been clear throughout that a data revolution is needed better to collect, use and open up data for maximum effect, bringing together all those who are relevant in this area. The noble Lords, Lord McConnell and Lord Judd, and others have noted that as being a vital tool in this regard.
I note what the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, said in his opening remarks—others echoed this—about how essential it is that women are central to these goals. My noble friends Lady Jenkin and Lady Hodgson put the case extremely effectively for why women and girls must be front and centre. The UK Government have argued strongly for a dedicated goal that addresses the causes of gender inequality, as well as for gender-sensitive targets and indicators throughout.
I am also very glad that climate change and the environment have been integrated into the whole process of these goals, as there was a danger that the issue was just going to be running alongside. That integration is clearly essential, as noble Lords have pointed out; the noble Lords, Lord McConnell, Lord Judd, Lord Hannay and Lord Collins, my noble friend Lord Chidgey and others have all emphasised it and numerous NGOs have made that case, as the noble Lord, Lord Judd, noted. Those in developing countries, as we have just heard from the noble Lord, Lord Collins, are indeed the most vulnerable to climate change. It is also a matter of global security, as noble Lords have said. It is impossible to consider eradicating poverty by 2030 without addressing climate change, so we firmly believe that the framework must include measures in this regard.
On peace and security, the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, who is a member of another UN high-level panel, knows a great deal about the need to integrate development for global security, and this is all consistent with that. The noble Lord, Lord McConnell, and others mentioned this, and it will indeed be critical to ensure that peace and security, the ruler of law, access to justice and inclusive economic growth are reflected in the final outcome.
The noble Lord, Lord Collins, mentioned universal health coverage. Health, including sexual and reproductive health rights, is a prerequisite for human and economic development and we are strongly supportive of universal health coverage as an essential means to achieve health outcomes.
The noble Lord, Lord Low, rightly talked about the need to integrate. He flagged education, which of course needs to be properly integrated. We do not want processes that duplicate but ones that are mutually supportive, and we will have to look right across the board as far as that is concerned.
My noble friend Lord Chidgey mentioned working with parliaments. Indeed, we support the need for effective monitoring and accountability at all appropriate levels for this framework and that very much includes parliaments, which play a pivotal role.
On universality, I reassure the noble Lord, Lord Cashman, that the UK is clear that the next framework should be universal and all countries should have responsibilities in it, so it will apply to the UK. Discussions are continuing at the moment between departments in preparation for that.
There is more to the post-2015 agenda than goals and targets alone, of course. In July next year there will be a major conference in Ethiopia at which the international community will decide how best to finance the new framework, and the Secretary-General’s report acknowledges the importance of an ambitious set of means of implementation, including overseas development assistance and other resources.
I thank those who have paid tribute to the UK on reaching 0.7% of GNI devoted to overseas development. I think that the UK should be proud of reaching that goal, especially at a time of austerity. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, that the Government are fully committed to supporting my right honourable friend Michael Moore’s Private Member’s Bill, which will enshrine this, and I am delighted that my noble friend Lord Kirkwood will be leading the Bill through the Lords, supported right around the Chamber, I hope. It is enormously helpful to hear the voices in support of the Bill. From the Government, of course, I shall be strongly supporting it.
It is because we have met 0.7% that we have been able to become such a significant donor for multilateral organisations, such as the Global Fund and Gavi. I heard what my noble friend Lord Avebury said about Gavi. I would gently point out that the United Kingdom is the largest donor to Gavi. Although, of course, I am absolutely delighted to hear about other countries increasing their level of commitment, that has to be measured against the enormous commitment that the United Kingdom Government have already put in. It is extremely important, and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has recently announced up to £1 billion in direct funding contributions for 2016-20. That is in addition to our existing long-term commitments. I fully recognise the contributions that Gavi makes, as my noble friend outlined.
Significant progress has clearly been made over the past year in terms of what is being brought forward internationally. I will engage with my noble friend Lord Eccles, who has such a long and distinguished history on the economic side of development, not least through the CDC. We fully recognise that people are pulled out of poverty through the economic transformation of their countries. I absolutely agree with him. Our focus on human development, so that people have the education and skills to participate in our globalised world, underpins much of what we do. It is one of the reasons why we support the development of health systems, so that economies can power ahead. It is also why we ensure that we focus on governance, that that is strengthened so that, for example, countries can draw in taxation that they need to support their human development. The noble Lord, Lord Collins, mentioned the importance of taxation. It is also why we seek the reduction in tariff barriers, to ensure that countries can trade with each other. The CDC, with which of course the noble Viscount is so very familiar, helped fund the expansion, for example, of mobile money in Kenya, including those who were outside the banking sector, enabling them to be brought within the economy so that it could move forward. Human development goes hand in hand with, and underpins, economic development, so I do not see a contrast between our approach in terms of underpinning human development and focusing on economic growth.
The noble Lord, Lord Cashman, was concerned about the reduction and clustering of the goals. I will come to this in a little bit more detail in a moment. We clearly welcome the breadth and balance of the report of the Open Working Group, but we are concerned about whether 17 goals and 169 targets are sufficiently focused and whether actually they then lead to leaving things out, because you can be pretty sure they are not going to be as comprehensive as you would wish.
We are moving forward into the next stage. There will be the intergovernmental negotiations, co-facilitated by the permanent representatives of Kenya and Ireland in New York, that help to define the final post-2015 framework. The United Kingdom will be an active participant in this process, and we will continue to work closely with other member states within and beyond the EU and with civil society and other key stakeholders to press for the ambitious framework we need.
The noble Lords, Lord McConnell and Lord Cashman, spoke about the EU. We have advocated for a proactive EU approach to the post-2015 discussions, and, having worked closely with other EU member states and the commission, we are confident that the EU commission on post-2015 will reflect joint priorities and assist us as we try to secure an inspiring and implementable framework. The EU can be a very powerful group if its members work together—the noble Lords are absolutely right. That is why we have been working so closely together to try to have a common approach. I assure noble Lords that a great deal of effort has gone into that.
It was interesting to listen to the list of organisations that the noble Lord, Lord McConnell, mentioned, in which the United Kingdom plays a leading part. The organisation he did not mention, which of course also influences this discussion, is the G77. He will know that those different organisations have conflicting approaches.
The MDGs were, largely, drawn up by one hand: by a Member of this House, the noble Lord, Lord Malloch-Brown, from the Benches opposite. The MDGs had a simplicity, and they had an effect. As the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, indicated, that was not widely anticipated. However, that is what happened, so all now recognise the importance of their replacement. It is excellent that the world has engaged in this area. The risk is that what is produced does not have the clarity and purpose of those first goals, in which case it will not guide and will not have the effect that we all wish. Of course those first MDGs had limitations. We are in the final stages now, and I welcome this debate and the engagement of all noble Lords here, who have such huge expertise and influence. I hope that all will apply that expertise and influence to ensure that what replaces the MDGs is directed at ending extreme poverty by 2030. That is why leaving no one behind, and the desegregation of data so that we know whether people have been left behind, is so critical.
As the noble Lord, Lord Collins, pointed out, it is both morally right to address poverty and in our national interest to do so. The challenge is to secure the bold and visionary agreement that he so rightly seeks, as we all do. We live in interesting and risky times; there is so much to play for here. We must ensure that we work together, and internationally, to build on the remarkable achievements of the MDGs and put in place something that learns from them and is inclusive, and which renders the horrendous poverty and deprivation, to which the noble Lord, Lord Judd, so eloquently pointed, a thing of the past.
My Lords, I predicted on Twitter this morning that we would have a top-quality debate here this afternoon, and I was not wrong. I am very grateful to all noble Lords who participated in our debate for the quality of the contributions and the way in which we have covered so many issues in depth, but with real focus and passion, too. I am particularly delighted to have my noble friend Lord Cashman here, who contributed his experience in the European Parliament in this debate; perhaps we have missed that element in recent years in the many debates we have had to move this agenda forward. I thank the Minister for her responses and for her reassurances and information about the Government’s position.
I will make one other point in closing the debate. I met two teenage girls on a visit to the Central African Republic six weeks ago, who were in an internally displaced persons’ camp. However, they somehow struggled to get out from that camp and go to school each day before they returned home to collect water and perform other duties for their families, who lived in the camp all day, as they had for many weeks and months. If they had been sitting in the Public Gallery today, they would have been very proud to see the way in which we conduct ourselves in our debates. While there is a consensus of commitment, we are able openly to debate and discuss the priorities and the way in which we will take this forward.
To refer back to the contribution made by the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, we have come some way since those old debates, which were polarised between commercial activity on the one hand and government assistance on the other. Today, however, most of us accept that a combination of both will deal with global inequality and deprivation. I hope that our debate here in the House of Lords has taken that agenda forward into 2015 with some style and quality. I thank noble Lords very much.