This week we will be hosting a video diary from Jim Murphy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, during his visit to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Please watch his first installment here from the ground in Tacloban.
Film by Ben White, CAFOD.
I am writing you this from the departures lounge at Heathrow airport. In less than an hour I will be boarding a flight to the Philippines to meet some of those worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
And of course as I sit here my thoughts are still with those in so much pain in Glasgow after the events of Friday night. But as I get ready to board the plane I’m also thinking of all those affected by the typhoon, all those that have lost loved ones, that have lost their homes, and those that have had their lives turned upside down.
It is now more than three weeks since Haiyan struck the Philippines, obliterating whole towns, destroying communities and shattering lives. And of course as I sit here my thoughts are with all those affected by this disaster, all those that have lost loved ones, that have lost their homes, and those that have had their lives turned upside down.
Here at home, as always, the British public have shown they should never be underestimated. Their generosity in emotional concern and financial contributions a further brilliant reminder that we are not and never will be a nation that looks the other way.
The Disaster Emergency Committee public appeal has now topped £65 million, a pound for every person in the UK. A tremendous effort. And it’s the work that this generosity supports that I’ll be observing whilst I’m out there.
I’ll be travelling to Tacloban to see the important work CAFOD, the UK Government and other NGOs are doing – from saving lives to getting communities back on their feet. I want to keep you informed so I’ll be posting video blogs on LCID’s website and blogging at LabourList.
In the coming weeks I’ll be setting up a monthly DFID newsletter, so if you want to be kept informed of projects like this and other work that the Shadow DFID team are doing then sign up here and I’ll add you to my list, don’t worry it will only be an occasional email on significant developments.
Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP
Shadow International Development Secretary
by David Jepson, LCID Member
Things have changed a lot since 1997 when Labour came to power with a huge surge of popular support and, amongst other things, put international development as a major priority for the first time.
The Millennium Development Goals provided the wider framework and the Labour government closely followed these priorities, for example, the eradication of extreme poverty, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and achieving universal primary education. Considerable, although patchy, progress has been made in relation to the attainment of these goals in many countries across the globe.
Over the past 15 years, we have seen the strong emergence of the BRIC economies and many other countries in receipt of UK aid have enjoyed high levels of economic growth, not only in Asia (Bangladesh for example, economy growing at 5.8% per year since 1997) and Latin America, and also in Africa with 4.9 % annual GDP growth 2000 – 2008. Although the picture is complicated and diverse, the fruits of private sector led development are not always well distributed within the societies concerned. Political and economic elites have benefitted together with multi national corporations. Major segments of populations, including the urban poor and those living in rural areas are excluded from the benefits of growth which might have been anticipated through either through enhanced public services and or through significantly increased incomes.
The adoption of decent work as a key element within our policy framework for international development post 2015 will be a very relevant response to the changing international context.
But they didn’t get better for everyone
The ILO definition of decent work revolves around four strategic objectives, creating jobs, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection and promoting social dialogue with gender equality as a cross cutting objective. In recent years, decent work objectives have not been high on DFIDs list with a recent evaluation of the track record of DFID in following the decent work agenda concluding that it scored just 25 out of a possible 56 points.
Labour giving priority to decent work objectives , such as rights at work and social protection, would create “clear blue water” between Labour and the Conservative approach which places emphasis on private sector led development within deregulated markets. It will help to ensure that the fruits of growth are distributed more fairly. Moreover, increasing incomes and stability in the labour market will underpin the expansion of consumer demand and boost domestic economies. This in turn will create an environment within which smaller business can flourish and over dependency on export markets, often involving a small range of products or commodities, will be reduced. In addition, stable, secure and well rewarded employment will strengthen the indigenous tax base.
Through Decent Work Labour can make a difference
Significant impact in relation to decent work objectives, could be made with relatively small levels of expenditure, for example through provision of peer to peer support and technical assistance, creation of systems and capacity building, training and advice, to governments (for example Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs), Public Employment Services, local government, trades unions, locally based NGOs etc. Ensuring the multi-national enterprises follow the requirements of the relevant OECD Guidelines would another key feature of the approach. The focus would be on a selected group of countries with a very different framework for fragile / failed states (such as Afghanistan or Somalia) where there is very limited autonomous economic activity.
by Alastair Osborne, Scottish Officer for LCID
When it comes to the debate over Scottish independence, we believe strongly that the return of a Labour Government in 2015 would provide the best opportunity for progressive post 2015 international development goals to be pursued and achieved. We do not feel this should be put at risk by going down the unmarked road of Scottish Independence.
We welcome debate on this issue, writing about it here on our blog and welcoming the move by Anas Sarwar to secure a Commons Adjournment Debate, as well as the current investigation by the Commons International Development Select Committee.
Last week NIDOS (Network of International Development Organisations in Scotland) added their contribution to the debate with the launch of a new report. With the support of over 100 Scottish organisations, including Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Mercy Corps, Oxfam and SCIAF, it is the most comprehensive document ever produced by the Scottish sector about Scotland’s contribution to international development.
Ahead of next year’s independence referendum, NIDOS and its members are not advocating any particular constitutional outcome. They do consider it essential that Scotland’s place in building a just world is part of the referendum debate – hence this report which they hope will stimulate a wide ranging debate.
The report sets out a framework for Scotland’s international development policy underpinned by key values: wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity as well as equality, sustainability and solidarity, and argues that any Scottish government, whatever its constitutional status, must consider the global impact of all its policies and activities, not just those directly linked to international development. In other words, any future Scottish Government (whether devolved or independent) should adopt the principle of ‘policy coherence’: the concept that all government departments and policies should comply with, and contribute to, equitable and sustainable global development. The report examines best practice which can also be adopted by the UK Government.
Labour believes there is an overwhelming case that independence would be bad for the future of our international development contribution, but the debate is an opportunity to go beyond merely arguing for a No vote, and instead, to open up a positive debate about how best Scotland and the UK can move forward to a progressive development agenda.
Thank you to all LCID members who voted in our elections. Our AGM has just finished and the results ratified – congratulations to our new Executive for the year ahead!
Thank you again to everyone who voted and who stood. We will be meeting soon to plan for the year ahead – and will be in touch soon with details of what we pledge to do in the run up to the 2015 general election – and how you can get involved!
N.B. Our constitution mandates that when a tie occurs for 15th place, both candidates shall be elected. We therefore now have 16 great people on our Exec!
The following blog is posted on behalf of LCID’s friends at the Labour Women’s Network:
LWN are proud to be part of an international movement and one of the most exciting aspects of our upcoming political day Foundations for Victory is that we will be joined by women from our Sister Parties across the globe with visitors from nearly a dozen countries, including Ghana, Botswana, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Jordan.
As well as hosting these guests we will have a special session in which women from Labour’s Sister Parties in the Middle East will be speaking on their experiences of the Arab Spring, both directly and the impact on the region as a whole. They will also be sharing with us how they are working to support and empower women in their parties and their countries. How they’ve tried to ensure that the voices of women aren’t lost after revolution and their approach to the challenge of increasing women’s rights and representation.
The panel will be chaired by Claire Leigh, Co-Chair of the Labour Campaign for International Development and offers a unique chance to discuss the global nature of the problems we face in women’s representation, learn lessons and share best practice with our sisters abroad, learn how we can support sisters in the sister parties and most importantly hear the inspirational stories of these women.
Confirmed for this very special panel so far are:
Zohra Lhioui (USFP, Morocco) President of the Foreign Relations Committee
Omezzine Khelifa (Ettakatol, Tunisia), member of Ettakatol’s Political Bureau and Women’s Wing
We firmly believe that working with our international partners is not only useful but necessary when we work to improve women’s representation in politics and that’s why as well as hosting these speakers LWN trainers have been directly supporting women in sister parties.
A view which committee member Mel Ward summed up in a blog for Shifting Grounds earlier in the week where she wrote about her experience in the Middle East and why international solidarity is central to the women’s movement.
If you, like Mel believe that we have much to learn from our sister across the globe don’t miss this opportunity and get your ticket now.
Hope to see on Saturday!
Labour Women’s Network
The LCID Annual General Meeting (AGM) is taking place on Thursday, 21st November, at 6.30pm. The AGM will take place in the Houses of Parliament, Committee Room 7, and all LCID members are welcome.
The first order of business will be the announcement of the results of the Executive Committee elections results. Voting closes on 20th November at 8pm.
The event will also be an opportunity to celebrate what has been an important year for LCID. Since our last AGM we have seen the campaign go from strength to strength including an ever growing number of members, a range of events across the UK and, of course, our official affiliation to the Labour Party.
But the meeting isn’t just about looking back on past successes. This is a chance for all LCID members to discuss opportunities for the campaign to grow and develop further next year. We want to hear your ideas including how we can continue to expand the reach of LCID, attract more members, run campaigning activities and produce more parliamentary and policy work. With just over a year and a half until the general election, this is an exciting and important time to be thinking of creative ways to make sure development issues are part of the political agenda.
So come along on Thursday the 21st November and bring your ideas and plans for 2014. New members are especially welcome.
We look forward to seeing you there!