Elections for the LCID Executive Committee will take place between the 1st-14th December this year.
All LCID members are eligible (and strongly encouraged) to stand.
Nominations are now open
We are opening nominations today and inviting members to put themselves forward for election.
We are keen for anyone who is interest to stand, but you need to be a member to both stand and to vote. Not a member? Go to lcid.org.uk/join and join today.
We are looking for 15 LCID members to take us forward with a range of skills and experience that might include some of the following:
- Helping deliver a conference on internationalism in late 2016
- Electoral campaigning
- Building our membership
- Building alliances and working across the labour movement – such as Trade Unions, CLPs, Coops and other Socialist Societies
- Financial and organisational governance
- Communications such as social media and blog editing
Nominations are encouraged from a broad range of members to reflect the diversity of our membership, including in terms of gender, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. LCID is also keen to maintain a balance between those who work within the sector and also passionately interested members from the wider movement.
Executive Committee members are expected to make a significant contribution through their agreed area of responsibility and joint projects. The Executive meets every month with additional Advisory Board meetings where appropriate. Dialling in to meetings enables members to participate from across the UK and nominations are particularly welcome from the devolved nations.
If you think you could help us take forward our mission as part of a team, please submit your nomination, along with a statement no more than 80 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org before 6pm on Monday 30th November.
Online voting will take place between the 1st-14th December and successful candidates will take office at the close of the AGM the following day.
LCID’s AGM will take place on Tuesday 15th December at 6.30pm in the House of Commons, Committee Room 7. Confirmed speakers include LCID Honorary President and Shadow Foreign Minister Stephen Doughty MP.
Kate Osamor, Labour & Co-operative MP for Edmonton and PPS to Jeremy Corbyn, visited Zambia this summer with RESULTS UK
I was incredibly honoured to be elected to Parliament this May, and I’m determined to fight for the best deal for my constituents under this Conservative Government. My constituency, Edmonton in North London, is a place of huge contrasts and inequality. There’s prosperity but there’s also real poverty, and areas with some of the highest unemployment levels in the country. I’ve spoken with so many local people doing their best but still struggling to get by and worried about the future. Regeneration activity is crucial to bring new jobs, as is better education, health, and transport – and it’s my job to fight for better opportunities and living standards for local people.
As a Labour and Co-operative Party MP, I also firmly believe in solidarity with others fighting for a better life, whether it’s in this country or on the other side of the world. Visiting relatives in Nigeria taught me from a young age that people share the same aspirations, whether they’re struggling local entrepreneurs in London or in Lagos. It was a Labour Government that set up the Department for International Development back in 1997, and I’m committed to pushing for the UK to be a force for good in people’s lives wherever they live.
This means knowing what’s happening on the ground – and if the 0.7 pence per £1 of national income spent by the UK on aid is working or not. So last month, I joined MPs from across the political parties in visiting Zambia with the charity RESULTS UK, to find out how UK aid money is being invested in health. There are many things needed for a country to improve living standards, but the evidence shows that spending on health – from family planning to disease prevention and nutrition – can be one of the most high-impact, cost-effective ways to make a long-term difference.
Before coming to Parliament, I spent 15 years working in the NHS for a GP Co-operative and more recently as a Surgery Practice Manager. I‘ve seen first-hand how people are held back if they can’t get the care and services they need – and why we need to fight for the NHS in this country. What I saw in Zambia on my very first day in the capital city, Lusaka, reinforced this. At a local Government-run clinic in George Compound, a poor, inner-city area, the queues stretched out of the door. Young mothers sat with their babies, quietly waiting all day. Heidi, the young sister in charge and our host, explained that one doctor was on hand to treat 1,000 patients a day, in a small area covering 120,000 people.
I shouldn’t have been surprised – after years of colonial under-development and post-independence instability, Zambia is a still very poor country. Its recent re-classification as a ‘Middle Income Country’ obscures the fact that increasing copper prices and extraction have pushed up some high incomes, whilst the vast majority of people remain poor, with unmet basic needs and without secure work. Zambia is the ninth most unequal country in the world. Donor countries like the UK should be very careful about withdrawing aid from such countries, assuming the need has gone down, or that Governments are already in a position to collect and allocate enough taxes to step in. It would be like pulling away the rug, just when there’s a chance of working with Governments to create more equitable growth and development.
But for this to happen, of course Governments must do more. We asked several people how much of Government spending goes on health – including the Zambian Minister for Health, an intelligent man and clearly a skilled politician who is very aware of creating ‘too much demand for the supply’ he receives from his Treasury colleagues – and received a different answer each time, of between 4-11%. Each answer was below the recommended 15%. The UK Government must pressure their opposites in countries like Zambia – and support civil society campaigners like we met from health pressure group ‘CITAM+’ – to make sure spending goes up as quickly as possible, including by supporting better tax systems and tackling the outrage that is international tax avoidance.
Equitable development means reaching everyone, especially those who need it most – and this often means investing in women and children. I’m passionate that all women have the right to avoid a life of repeated pregnancy, poor health and poverty. The UK Government is right to prioritise women and children’s health – it must now press others to follow this lead, and to make sure that the poorest and hardest to reach women and their children are targeted. Women will be quick to respond to such opportunities: at a mobile vaccination clinic at the local rural school, run by UNICEF and supported by a UK-funded global initiative called Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance, the mothers had set up an impromptu market and were earning extra cash while they waited for their babies to be immunised. The results achieved by Gavi are huge – the number of child deaths a year has halved since it was set up in 2000, and as we saw in Zambia, these immunisation sessions also give doctors the chance to share family planning advice.
There are big challenges in a country like Zambia. One is the sheer size of the country, and it was heartbreaking to hear nurses at a rural hospital speak of the young dad whose son died in his arms just as he arrived at the hospital following a two day walk. The UK is helping here too, training an army of new rural Community Health Assistants. We were bowled over by the commitment and care of 23 year old Elias, a quietly spoken but inspiring young man who was so proud to have been selected for the job of running his local health post, providing basic health advice and commodities to rural homesteads. It is vital that this sort of work to strengthen health systems is sustained – prevention is so much better than crisis, as we have seen in the tragedies of HIV and Ebola.
Diseases of poverty like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis present another huge challenge. HIV affected 12% of all adults at its peak last decade, and again it has only been through global initiatives such as the UK-funded Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, that this has now dropped. But countries like Zambia still face a huge treatment bill, and will need better ways of protecting their people in the long-term, such as an HIV vaccine and better TB drugs and vaccines. We met with Dr William Kilembe and his team of Zambian scientists working for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in their Lusaka laboratory, and with the team at Aeras who are working on a new TB vaccine. The science they’re working on is world-class, but it can’t continue without strong global support. We’ve reached a point where diseases like HIV and TB are no longer automatically a death sentence in places like Zambia, and now have the opportunity to push for the end of these epidemics. This is worth remembering when people tell you things ‘can’t be done’ – especially in December, when the Global Fund will begin its next call for funding.
Reflecting on the challenges I saw in Zambia, it seems important to remember what we’ve achieved in just the last fifteen years. Annual child deaths cut by half around the world, saving 6 million children’s lives a year. 15 million people on HIV treatment and 37 million deaths from tuberculosis prevented. Life expectancies increasing and helping to raise incomes and living standards. Looking at these numbers, it’s clear that UK aid and partnerships are something to be proud of. I’d say it’s worth keeping up our work with people like Heidi, Elias, and Dr Kilembe, and committing to do our bit to tackle poverty and inequality, whether it’s found in the UK or much further afield.
For more information on RESULTS UK’s work on global poverty and health, please contact email@example.com
By Jessica Toale
China’s role as an emerging development actor has come under much scrutiny in recent years. We have all heard stories of exploitative working practices, unfair natural resources deals, land grabbing and white elephant projects. These all feed a narrative of an aggressive and neo-colonial China out to upset the existing global order. The reality, however, is much more nuanced and requires a better understanding of China’s own development and motivations. It also requires us to turn a mirror on our own practice.
At the beginning of the year I wrote for a Young Fabians pamphlet on China’s emerging development practices and the potential to develop a stronger strategic political relationship between the UK and China through development cooperation. Last week I also led a delegation of Young Fabians to Beijing to explore the UK-China relationship and gained more insight into the social and economic drivers of contemporary China.
China’s development policy is driven by the principles of mutual benefit, non-interference and non-conditionality. Indeed, many of our Chinese hosts last week advocated for the need to find common ground in Sino-British relations and to put our differences to one side. This philosophy of non-interference is deeply ingrained and predicated on a strong policy of establishing national security. In fact, much of China’s foreign policy is aimed at securing power at home.
China, itself a developing country, is not bound by OECD definitions of official development assistance, nor does it see itself as an aid donor in the traditional sense. Rather, it sees itself as an equal partner to many of the countries in which it invests. Its experience of successfully lifting 600million people out of poverty is a significant achievement. The need to secure economic stability at home, open up and diversify its economy and promote a preferred national image have been major drivers of its development activities overseas.
During our delegation to Beijing we met with young trade unionists at the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, China’s trade union umbrella organisation, one of whom was responsible for overseeing all Chinese workers in Africa.
He explained the Chinese companies investing in Africa are providing the essential infrastructure these countries need to develop and that the incentives for Chinese workers to transfer overseas are very high. The reason for the use of Chinese workers in these locations is that in many cases the labour markets are extremely underdeveloped and lack the skills base needed to construct many of these infrastructure projects. He cited Angola as an example where the civil war had all but decimated the skills base. He and his colleague also described some of the training and development work that these Chinese companies undertake to improve the local workforce.
Interestingly, he also described a recent conference which brought together governments, businesses and civil society from China, Norway and East Africa to discuss who they can improve CSR aspects of their projects in the region.
Much of this conversation sat in line with the 2014 White Paper which China released which places greater emphasis on poverty reduction, improving livelihoods, promoting economic and social development and shifting their spend focus to Least Developed Countries.
Our hosts had a number of questions about UK and OECD country engagement in Africa and what we meant by “development”. It was fascinating to compare the two approaches and the much greater focus that we put on human development and capacity building at government and civil society level.
However it is important to recognise that our own approaches are far from perfect. The reporting and policy conditionalities Western Government’s impose on aid spend which are too onerous for African Governments, interference in the affairs of developing country governments, contradictory policies, exceptionalism, selective adherence to international treaties, failing to provide the type of aid African Governments need and want at speed, and unsustainable 3-year project funding horizons are often cited as criticisms of Western aid donor approaches.
In many cases our foreign policy objective flat out contradict themselves – our desire to be defenders of human rights, yet our tendency to turn a blind eye in regimes who are our allies; our humanitarian support in conflict zones which are also full of weapons provided by the British aerospace industry; our desire to be a global leader on tax transparency but failing to get our own house in order, to name a few. This is something that the UK Government needs to take a serious look at if we are to gain the trust and respect on the international scene that we want.
President Xi’s visit to the UK this week shines a light on various aspects of the UK-China relationships from trade deals and football to the more sensitive aspects of our political relationship like China’s record on human rights.
Turning a mirror on our practice to ensure that our domestic and international priorities are aligned is essential. If we are to develop a robust political relationship with China, yes we must find a way to discuss sensitive issues like human rights which form a core part of our and the international communities core values, but we must also ensure that we are in a position to provide credible leadership on these subjects.
by Lord Jack McConnell, LCID Vice-President
The Labour Party has internationalism in our core. We have always wanted a world free from want, and where people can live at peace with the planet, and each other. Yesterday in New York, the new Global Goals were agreed: a road map to end extreme poverty and to peaceful sustainable development.
Launched by the UN at the start of the new century, the Millennium Development Goals were meant to tackle the worst extremes of ill health and poverty. But they were never designed to tackle root causes. And with their time coming to a close, there is now the opportunity to transform global development and security – making sure no one is left behind.
Global poverty has been halved in 20 years, more children go to school, most people now have access to clean water, deaths in childbirth have been slashed. The last Labour government helped achieve this by transforming Britain’s approach to international development. But still 1 billion live on less than a pound a day; UNICEF reports that every five minutes, somewhere across the globe, a family loses a son or daughter to violence; women perform two-thirds of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn only 10% of the income and own only 1% of the property; and more people have a mobile phone than use a working toilet.
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development follow the MDGs but they are much much more. 17 Goals including quality education and health care, protecting the environment, peace and justice, and jobs – ambitious, for all.
The Goals are fundamentally about inequality and sustainability, but they are also about tackling the great fears of the 21st century. Fundamental to tackling these fears is the need to end extreme poverty; to ensure women and men have the same rights and opportunities; to prevent conflict and to recognise those marginalised as a result of their physical condition, their identity, their sexuality or their location have the same basic rights as others.
The Global Goals are the result of a unique process, engaging countries and peoples across the globe. Because of this process, these goals will have greater shared ownership than ever before, and action can start now. The key difference to the MDG’s: the Global Goals are universal. All goals apply to all countries. All goals are to be implemented in all countries. All goals are to be financed and reported on by all countries. All countries are accountable. With this universality and the aim to transform, has also come a promise: leave no one behind.
As we agree these goals, I am struck by three important priorities.
First, we need an consistent effort to investment in capacity: taxation authorities; fair and transparent courts and justice systems; strong parliaments that hold governments to account; reliable, independent data collection; and effective government ministries. And a willingness in the nations where the vast majority of the extreme poor live, to respect accountable institutions that put people before those in power.
Next, peace and security. Those most at risk of violence or war have the worst lives and the greatest needs. They must not be left in the ‘too difficult’ box. Building peace is essential if development is to reach everyone.
And perhaps most importantly of all is gender equality. The world cannot move forward whilst half of its population is held back. We need to universally empower women and girls so that we can build the better world that we want to see.
This is a special moment. A real chance to change the world. Let’s grab it with both hands.
Dear LCID members,
We hope you can join us for our Rally for International Development at this year’s party conference, which we are hosting in partnership with BOND with Beyond2015.
We have a fantastic line-up of speakers including Hilary Benn MP, Stephen Twigg MP, Seb Dance MEP and Linda McAvan MEP. The event will be an opportunity to celebrate the new global Sustainable Development Goals and to reflect on ‘what next’, to ensure that the goals are implemented and that momentum is sustained.
And if that’s not enough to tempt you along, drinks will also be provided!
The reception will take place on Monday 28th September, 17.45 – 19.15, in the ‘International Development Hub’, Hall 7, Brighton Hilton Metropole Hotel.
You need to register to attend, by signing up here. Please note that you can only sign up if you have a conference pass, as the event will take place within the secure zone.
We are looking forward to seeing you there.
The LCID team
First published by BOND, 16 SEPTEMBER 2015
Corbyn’s shadow cabinet: old consensus or new divide?
You won’t have been able to pick up a paper, turn on the TV, or open Twitter since the weekend without noticing the seismic shift in British politics: Labour’s most rebellious backbench MP has become its leader.
So, what do we know about him and does that matter to international development? In a nutshell, the answer to the first question is: a little, and the answer to the second is: a lot. Here’s why…
Despite having views that are wildly different from almost any other leading politician of a major party, he is now formally the Right Honorable Jeremy Corbyn and the Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition. For all the furore around his election, Jeremy Corbyn is just one person on a mission to turn the tide of British politics. His new shadow cabinet is the first ripple in the water. How they work together and what they do will determine if they can turn that tide.
On paper, his team could not be more supportive of development, but there’s more to it than that. Corbyn, like Ed Miliband and David Cameron, is a defender of the 0.7% aid budget and a supporter of international development.
Corbyn’s new shadow international development secretary, Diane Abbott, is also a firm supporter of the aid budget and of development. Abbott has campaigned against UK-based consultants earning exorbitant fees for working on development projects.
Yvette Cooper decided not to join the shadow cabinet formally, but she will continue to spearhead the party’s liaison with local councils taking in refugees. As shadow home secretary, and as recently as last week, she criticised the government for trying to use £1bn of the aid budget to house refugees in Britain. Today, Cooper’s successor, Andy Burnham, held back on that line of assault in his debut in the role, saying that he supported the use of aid money in this scenario. It is also unclear who the shadow junior DFID ministers will be, including the shadow to the new joint development, Home Office and communities minister with special focus for syrian refugees.
Abbott will certainly have something to say about it, which will be determined, in part, by this week’s prime minister’s questions. It will be Corbyn’s first stand-off against David Cameron. Although he has invited ordinary party members to submit their questions, he is likely to choose those which hammer Cameron as hard as possible.
Given that the first piece of legislation Corbyn had to oppose as leader was the Trade Union bill, that will be almost certainly be on the agenda. But I suspect he will focus on the current refugee crisis, and not just because it is so topical, but because it matters to him: he chose Saturday’s rally as his first public address as leader.
Corbyn thinks the UK should do more for the refugees and when he attacks the PM for the government’s inadequate response, Cameron will point to the £1bn of the aid budget he is allocating to the issue. That, in turn, politicises the aid budget. So, despite years of consensus that have grown over 0.7%, it is quickly becoming a key part of broader political debate.
There is another consensus that has been blown open by Corbyn – that austerity (to varying degrees) is a necessity. New shadow chancellor John McDonnell shares Corbyn’s disdain for austerity. And that, more than anything, matters for development because it pushes a reset button on the political status quo.
That might be a good thing, that might be a bad thing. What is certain is that the foundations of many politically economic agreements, including 0.7%, were built on that shared economic ground.
With the 0.7% act enshrined in law, the need for political consensus around UK spending on aid seemed less urgent, but the refugee crisis has reminded us why it is more important than ever to continue to build overall support for development. The challenge for us is doing that in an increasingly political arena, and on fractured ground.
Crowded House’s single, Help Is Coming, has been re-released and profits will be donated to Save The Children to help its vital work in Syria and Europe where the refugees are fleeing to escape the conflict. The money will help thousands of children in need of food, safe water, medicine, shelter and psychological support.