Skip to content

Ten years ago, Labour made history. But the fight continues to Make Poverty History.

7 July 2015

By Stephen Doughty MP, LCID Honorary Vice-President

Exactly ten years ago, a quarter of a million people marched through the streets of Edinburgh calling on the G8 to Make Poverty History, and millions joined their call at Live 8 concerts around the world.

As a young campaigner, I was part of the team who helped bring together the historic human white band around the Scottish capital and watched in awe as people streamed into The Meadows in solidarity from across the UK.

Thanks to our pressure, and the leadership of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Hilary Benn and others, G8 leaders signed an historic agreement to cancel debt for the most highly indebted poor countries and secured agreements to scale up aid by billions of pounds.

Ten years on, as we approach the Sustainable Development Goals summit in September and a major climate change conference in December, it is clear our work is far from over. But we have also made great progress towards global poverty reduction, and Britain’s contribution couldn’t have happened without Labour campaigners and politicians leading the way.

Between 1997 and 2010 Labour helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year. We helped to get 40 million more children into school, and 3 million people onto lifesaving HIV drugs. 1.5 million people gained access to safe water and sanitation services. We cancelled 100% of multilateral debts for the poorest countries. We set up a dedicated Department for International Development which was working so well that even the Tories felt obliged to hold on to it.

And in opposition we have kept up the pressure. Ten years after Labour first put Britain on the timetable to reaching the 0.7% target, and five years after Labour first proposed to enshrine this aid promise in law, I was proud to vote in the House of Commons as a Labour MP to pass the Bill to spend 0.7% of our GNI on overseas aid. It only got through because of Labour’s support – more Labour MPs voted for in favour of the law than all the other parties combined.

And yet today, progressive internationalism feels threatened once again – with some letting debates about immigration, the EU, international aid and other global issues become increasingly insular and closed-minded. Yet Britain, under a Labour Government, was once recognised as a world leader in promoting progressive international politics and tackling global poverty.

The Labour Campaign for International Development is a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party, committed to getting Labour back in power and making Britain a progressive powerhouse once more.

On the tenth anniversary of Make Poverty History, I would be delighted if you could help us by:

1)        Sharing this video to remind our party and the public how far we’ve come in the last ten years, using the hashtag #makepovertyhistory.

2)        If you’re not already a member, joining the Labour Campaign for International Development, a group for all those committed to a world without poverty and injustice. Follow us on Twitter at @LabourCID and join us at lcid.org.uk/join.

Ten years ago we made history, but we haven’t yet defeated global poverty and injustice. Join us in that fight.

Stephen

Stephen Doughty MP

Vice President, Labour Campaign for International Development

Education for girls all over the world is the civil rights struggle of our time

6 July 2015

By Gordon Brown

First published by The Guardian, 6th July 2015

They are all Malala. Four defiant, courageous girls who stand toe-to-toe with the education campaigner Malala Yousafzai. Four ordinary girls who have done extraordinary things representing thousands of Malalas across this dark and dangerous world.

And their cause – empowerment for girls – is the theme of a critical Oslo conference on education and development today, convened by the Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, which Malala and I will address.

Malala was shot by Taliban gunmen for wanting to go to school and survived a bullet to the head. The four girls’ stories are different to Malala’s, but the bravery of each one of them is just as astonishing, and they all want the same outcome.

Like Malala, Geeta, Ashwini, Dilan and Razia have been fighting daily personal battles against those who would deny them education and condemn them to lives of child labour, child marriage or child trafficking.

They are waging the civil rights struggle of our time: a demand to end prejudice, discrimination and exclusion; and for ours to be the first generation in history to guarantee every single girl basic rights.

Geeta, from Nepal, was nine years old when she was sold into the sex trade and trafficked to India. To secure clients Geeta would wear makeup and be on the streets soliciting until 2am. She says she was forced to be with as many as 60 men each day. But out of a deep family tragedy is built a personal triumph. Rescued at the age of 14, she is now leading the way along with organisations such as the American Himalayan Foundation, who are trying to stop thousands of girls, including many made homeless from Nepal’s earthquake, being sold for $500 each into India.

At the age of 10, Dilan became part of what is now a mass exodus from Syria, fleeing with her mother in the dead of night into Lebanon – but it was a journey that took her from a school classroom to child labour. She spent her 11th birthday toiling in a garlic factory, peeling cloves and not earning a wage, only the right to a roof over her and her mother’s heads. Now, at 13, she wants to get back to school, become a teacher and one day help rebuild Syria. She is one of 1,000 global youth ambassadors for education, and is campaigning for 500,000 Syrian refugees to attend Lebanese schools.

Progress towards universal education has not only stalled but has gone into reverse.
Razia, who grew up in a village on the outskirts of Meerut, India, was sent to work at the age of four, stitching together small pieces of hide to make footballs. “My fingers bled whenever the needle pierced through them,” she recalls. “It happened with many children and some of them have suffered severe deformity. We had no idea that football players and businessmen made millions of dollars whereas we were trapped in a vicious circle of hunger and servitude.”

Rescued by the Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, she then pursued her education, became a young leader in the Global March Against Child Labour network, and when I met her was establishing the Nepalese national commission on child labour.

Ashwini was born blind and brought up in a poor rural community in India where bigoted neighbours tormented and mocked her for being disabled. One day, she decided to fight the discrimination and not only got the school grades that took her to college but has now become India’s premier champion of disabled rights, opening a residential school for visually impaired children.

These everyday stories of courage are repeated thousands of times over in girl-led movements such as the Nilphamari child marriage free zone in Bangladesh, Nepal’s Common Forum for Kalmal Hari Freedom, Indonesia’s Grobogan Child Empowerment Group and the Upper Manya Krobo Rights of the Child Club.

And there is good reason why this civil rights struggle is being stepped up now. Out-of-school numbers are rising fast because of the greatest exodus we have seen since 1945: a staggering 30 million displaced children on the long march from their homes into exile, often outside their own country in refugee camps, tents and hovels, offering little chance of ever going near a classroom.

After two decades during which 40 million more children enrolled for school, progress towards universal education has not only stalled but has gone into reverse with, as confirmed by Unesco figures today, 124m children out of school, 59m of them primary age, and the majority of them girls who have never enrolled.

The new set of statistics is damning. A look at primary and lower secondary ages combined shows one out of eight girls was out of school in 2013, and one out of nine boys. But the most tragic figures of all are that 24 million children will never enter a classroom. Half of all out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa will never enrol. And girls are the most disadvantaged, particularly in south and west Asia, where 80% of out-of-school girls are unlikely to start school, compared to just 16% for boys.

The UN’s new sustainable development goals call for secondary education for all by 2030; but to meet the additional costs and bridge the annual funding gap of $25bn for the poorest countries, we need innovative thinking.

This will start today in Oslo, when we consider creating the first humanitarian fund for education in emergencies. With its creation we can guarantee rapid action to help Syrian, Iraqi, South Sudanese and other girl refugees and intervene in places such as Nepal when catastrophe hits.

Vote Labour today to restore Britain’s leadership in the fight against global poverty!

7 May 2015

Cosmo

Ed Miliband answer to Cosmopolitan magazine’s quiz question

.

The choice in this election on international development is clear – between electing a Labour government to continue our tradition of helping the world’s poorest people…and a Conservative government whose pledges to voters do not contain a single mention of international development. And worse,their most likely coalition partners, UKIP, want to abolish DFID and the aid budget by £9bn a year.

.

Leading in the World – Labour’s manifesto pledges

Labour is an internationalist party and believes Britain must engage with the global challenges we face, but not try and solve them on our own. We believe the Conservatives are damaging the interests of our country by turning their backs on Europe, and isolating us abroad. We will strengthen our national security, stand up for human rights, and work with other countries to tackle terrorism, climate change, and eliminate extreme poverty globally. Download Labour’s manifesto here.

 .

International development

We are proud that Labour MPs passed the historic law that commits Britain to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on international development. Labour will use that commitment from the British public to transform the lives of the world’s poorest people, whilst ensuring value for taxpayers’ money. We will work in fragile and conflict-affected states to improve the lives of those affected by violence, prioritising the protection and education of women and children. We will rebalance the budget to focus funding on the world’s poorest countries.

While progress has been made towards the Millennium Development Goals, it is unacceptable that over a billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. We will work with other countries at this year’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit to unite the world to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle growing economic inequality, and place human rights at the heart of development.

We will establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage to provide the support, encouragement, and global partnerships needed to help countries provide free healthcare. We will lead efforts to reshape the UN humanitarian system to better equip it to save lives.

The private sector is essential to long-term development, and is often a positive force for change. We will extend the sharing of tax information to developing countries, increase DFID’s help to governments to collect more of their own taxes, tackle corruption, and ensure good governance. We will work with companies to ensure they have sustainable supply chains that are free from slavery, treat their workers fairly, and pay taxes where they are due.

 .

Climate change

We will put climate change at the heart of our foreign policy. As the terrible impact of the floods in Britain showed last year, climate change is now an issue of national, as well as global security. From record droughts in California, to devastating typhoons in the Philippines, the world is already seeing the effects we once thought only future generations would experience.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear that if the world is going to hold warming below two degrees (the internationally agreed goal), global emissions need to peak in around 2020, and then decline rapidly to reach net zero emissions by the second half of this century. The weaker the action now, the more rapid and costly the reductions will need to be later.

The effects of climate change hit the poor, the hardest. If we do not tackle climate change, millions of people will fall into poverty. We will expand the role of the Department of International Development to mitigate the risks of a changing climate, and support sustainable livelihoods for the world’s poorest people.

We want an ambitious agreement on climate change at the UNFCCC conference in Paris, in December. We will make the case for ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years on the basis of a scientific assessment of the progress towards the below two degree goal. And we will push for a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century, for transparent and universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions, and for an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in combating climate change.

 .

Human Rights

A commitment to universal human rights will be at the heart of our foreign policy across the world. We will continue to promote women’s rights. We will join with those campaigning to attain gender equality, the eradication of poverty and inclusive economic growth. We will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. And we will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for the human rights of LGBT people, and work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.

 .

The Middle East

Peace and security in the Middle East are one of Labour’s most important foreign policy objectives.

Palestine – We remain committed to a comprehensive two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine. There can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve. Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution.

ISIL’s barbarism and expansionist ideology, alongside terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab, represent a particular threat to global security. Following a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, it was right that the UK joined other nations in air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq. But military action alone will not defeat ISIL. A long-term multinational political strategy, with regional actors playing a central role, is essential for tackling the rise of extremism across the region.

.

The Conservative’s record on international development

In their manifesto, the Conservatives say they delivered on their commitment to enshrine on 0.7% of GNI on aid, but this law only passed as a private members bill after they couldn’t be bothered to table it themselves, and did their best to wreck it at every stage of its passage through Parliament. It was down to Labour MPs and Peers to ensure the bill was passed, with more Labour MPs voting for it then all the other parties combined.

The Conservatives promise further efforts to prevent climate change and help the poorest populations adapt. But the last five years have proven that their promise to be the “greenest government ever” meant nothing. Carbon emissions have gone up, David Cameron only recently talked of “cutting the green cr*p”, and he doesn’t mention the climate at all in meetings with world leaders.

The Conservatives say they will push for new global goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. If this was really the case, Cameron would have shown up to the meetings of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Having landed the prestigious chair role, he gave the meetings a miss and instead focused his efforts at the UN on getting jobs for his mates.

And when the Conservatives declare in their manifesto that they’ll try and reshape OECD rules on what counts as aid to reflect the importance of ‘stability’ – how can we trust that this isn’t another attempt to  divert aid towards military spending?

.

UKIP – the Tories most likely coalition partners

UKIP will cut the foreign aid budget by £9bn per year – with a much-reduced aid budget administered by the Foreign Office, with DFID scrapped as an independent department with a Cabinet minister. Read more here.

.

Go Green – Vote Labour

Labour has a record to be proud of and a hopeful, ambitious and achievable vision on international development and climate change. That is reason enough to vote Labour over the Green Party or SNP. But if you live in a marginal it is also the only way to ensure the Tories and UKIP do not get in.

.

Vote Labour

1. Pledge to vote Labour and get involved Labour’s campaign here.

3. Join the Labour Campaign for International Development and help us ensure international development remains high on the political agenda and at the heart of Labour’s programme for government.

Vote 2015 – The Choice on International Development

7 May 2015

Cosmo

Ed Miliband answer to Cosmopolitan magazine’s quiz question

.

The choice in this election on international development is clear – between electing a Labour government to continue our tradition of helping the world’s poorest people…and a Conservative government whose pledges to voters do not contain a single mention of international development. And worse,their most likely coalition partners, UKIP, want to abolish DFID and the aid budget by £9bn a year.

.

Leading in the World – Labour’s manifesto pledges

Labour is an internationalist party and believes Britain must engage with the global challenges we face, but not try and solve them on our own. We believe the Conservatives are damaging the interests of our country by turning their backs on Europe, and isolating us abroad. We will strengthen our national security, stand up for human rights, and work with other countries to tackle terrorism, climate change, and eliminate extreme poverty globally. Download Labour’s manifesto here.

 .

International development

We are proud that Labour MPs passed the historic law that commits Britain to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on international development. Labour will use that commitment from the British public to transform the lives of the world’s poorest people, whilst ensuring value for taxpayers’ money. We will work in fragile and conflict-affected states to improve the lives of those affected by violence, prioritising the protection and education of women and children. We will rebalance the budget to focus funding on the world’s poorest countries.

While progress has been made towards the Millennium Development Goals, it is unacceptable that over a billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. We will work with other countries at this year’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit to unite the world to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle growing economic inequality, and place human rights at the heart of development.

We will establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage to provide the support, encouragement, and global partnerships needed to help countries provide free healthcare. We will lead efforts to reshape the UN humanitarian system to better equip it to save lives.

The private sector is essential to long-term development, and is often a positive force for change. We will extend the sharing of tax information to developing countries, increase DFID’s help to governments to collect more of their own taxes, tackle corruption, and ensure good governance. We will work with companies to ensure they have sustainable supply chains that are free from slavery, treat their workers fairly, and pay taxes where they are due.

 .

Climate change

We will put climate change at the heart of our foreign policy. As the terrible impact of the floods in Britain showed last year, climate change is now an issue of national, as well as global security. From record droughts in California, to devastating typhoons in the Philippines, the world is already seeing the effects we once thought only future generations would experience.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear that if the world is going to hold warming below two degrees (the internationally agreed goal), global emissions need to peak in around 2020, and then decline rapidly to reach net zero emissions by the second half of this century. The weaker the action now, the more rapid and costly the reductions will need to be later.

The effects of climate change hit the poor, the hardest. If we do not tackle climate change, millions of people will fall into poverty. We will expand the role of the Department of International Development to mitigate the risks of a changing climate, and support sustainable livelihoods for the world’s poorest people.

We want an ambitious agreement on climate change at the UNFCCC conference in Paris, in December. We will make the case for ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years on the basis of a scientific assessment of the progress towards the below two degree goal. And we will push for a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century, for transparent and universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions, and for an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in combating climate change.

 .

Human Rights

A commitment to universal human rights will be at the heart of our foreign policy across the world. We will continue to promote women’s rights. We will join with those campaigning to attain gender equality, the eradication of poverty and inclusive economic growth. We will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. And we will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for the human rights of LGBT people, and work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.

 .

The Middle East

Peace and security in the Middle East are one of Labour’s most important foreign policy objectives.

Palestine – We remain committed to a comprehensive two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine. There can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve. Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution.

ISIL’s barbarism and expansionist ideology, alongside terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab, represent a particular threat to global security. Following a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, it was right that the UK joined other nations in air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq. But military action alone will not defeat ISIL. A long-term multinational political strategy, with regional actors playing a central role, is essential for tackling the rise of extremism across the region.

.

The Conservative’s record on international development

In their manifesto, the Conservatives say they delivered on their commitment to enshrine on 0.7% of GNI on aid, but this law only passed as a private members bill after they couldn’t be bothered to table it themselves, and did their best to wreck it at every stage of its passage through Parliament. It was down to Labour MPs and Peers to ensure the bill was passed, with more Labour MPs voting for it then all the other parties combined.

The Conservatives promise further efforts to prevent climate change and help the poorest populations adapt. But the last five years have proven that their promise to be the “greenest government ever” meant nothing. Carbon emissions have gone up, David Cameron only recently talked of “cutting the green cr*p”, and he doesn’t mention the climate at all in meetings with world leaders.

The Conservatives say they will push for new global goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. If this was really the case, Cameron would have shown up to the meetings of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Having landed the prestigious chair role, he gave the meetings a miss and instead focused his efforts at the UN on getting jobs for his mates.

And when the Conservatives declare in their manifesto that they’ll try and reshape OECD rules on what counts as aid to reflect the importance of ‘stability’ – how can we trust that this isn’t another attempt to  divert aid towards military spending?

.

UKIP – the Tories most likely coalition partners

UKIP will cut the foreign aid budget by £9bn per year – with a much-reduced aid budget administered by the Foreign Office, with DFID scrapped as an independent department with a Cabinet minister. Read more here.

.

Go Green – Vote Labour

Labour has a record to be proud of and a hopeful, ambitious and achievable vision on international development and climate change. That is reason enough to vote Labour over the Green Party or SNP. But if you live in a marginal it is also the only way to ensure the Tories and UKIP do not get in.

.

Vote Labour

1. The deadline for registering to vote on May 7th is April 20th – register to vote here.

2. Pledge to vote Labour and get involved Labour’s campaign here.

3. Join the Labour Campaign for International Development and help us ensure international development remains high on the political agenda and at the heart of Labour’s programme for government.

We must not let calls for a mandatory law on conflict minerals fall on deaf ears

28 April 2015

By Linda McAvan, LCID Vice-President, Labour MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber and Chair of the European Parliament’s International Development Committee

A visit to the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, Eastern Congo, is a journey into hope and despair in equal measure.  The hospital is run by Dr Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist specialising in treating the victims of sexual violence in this conflict-ridden region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the biggest country in Central Africa. DRC is a country with huge mineral wealth, but one which lies at the bottom of the Human Development Index – 187 out of 187.

Linda McAvan at Panzi hospitalDr Mukwege is a truly extraordinary man who not only treats the victims, but speaks out against the perpetrators, and has survived two attempts on his life since he received the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights from the European Parliament last November. His hospital is now protected by UN troops and he himself is largely confined to the hospital grounds for his own safety.  The motto of the hospital is Dire La Verité – Speak the Truth – and the estimated 45,000 victims treated there over the last two decades, women and children, some as young as six months old, are given not just medical treatment, but psychological support and  encouragement to speak out to bring the perpetrators to justice. When we met some of them at the hospital, they pleaded with us to protect Dr Mukwege and support efforts to stabilise the region.

Congolese countrysideThe violence in Eastern Congo largely stems from instability linked to one of the worst atrocities of modern times: the Rwandan genocide of 1994.  After the slaughter of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis, over a million Hutus fled over the border into Eastern Congo, fearing reprisals as the Tutsi-led army moved in to take over the country.  In the years that followed some returned home to Rwanda and took part in reconciliation efforts, but others remained as armed gangs, living off the proceeds of illegal mineral mining.  It is these armed gangs and the soldiers and police sent to fight them who carry out most of the rapes. And it is these same “conflict minerals” that all too often find their way into our mobile phones and other electronic devices.

FishermanThe aim of our trip was therefore twofold: to support Dr Mukwege and his work, and to build support for a new EU law to regulate conflict minerals by banning these illegal minerals from the EU market. A draft law is currently before the European Parliament and ministers from the EU’s 28 countries. But the draft is weak, only requiring voluntary measures by industry.  Labour MEPs and our allies want a mandatory law. Our Tory-led government is opposing the mandatory approach and last week, in a major blow, Tories joined UKIP MEPs and others on the right to block tougher measures at the committee stage of the law.

Labour MEPs and our allies will now re-table amendments in the hope that the full parliament will back them at a vote in May. Dr Mukwege has now written to all MEPs urging them to back tough, mandatory rules. Similar letters have come from Bishops, human rights organisations and other NGOs.  Having seen what we saw in Bukavu, we must not let these calls fall on deaf ears.

 

Grassroots organisations and members of the public can help in the campaign by writing to MEPs ahead of the vote on May 18th and after the election, contacting ministers and MPs.  Only a mandatory law, making the minerals traceable, will ensure that the minerals no longer fuel conflict and there can be space for real development in the DRC and elsewhere.

 

“We are an internationalist party. We are a party founded on a belief in equality. And these great causes of internationalism and equality come together in 2015.”

26 April 2015

FullSizeRender

Speech by Labour’s next Prime Minister’s Ed Miliband for Labour’s Development Day:

Thank you.

I’d like to thank Ross Kemp for hosting us today.

And I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of today’s gathering.

Let me thank all of the speakers who are with us today, Mary Creagh, Valerie Amos, Emily Berrington, and Adjoa Andou.

Let me start today by saying that all of our thoughts are with the people of Nepal.

We have seen truly appalling scenes as a result of this earthquake.

We now know thousands have lost their lives and we know British nationals have been caught up in this tragedy.

We must ensure that all international efforts support Nepal during this desperate time.

All of Britain will today be sending our thoughts and sympathies to the people of Nepal.

We will stand by you.

The world will come together.

We will do everything in our power to help you in your hour of need.

Now today I want to talk to you about the great causes of our time that today’s event is about.

We are an internationalist party.

We have always been an internationalist party.

We are a party that believes in the importance of equality.

We are a party founded on a belief in equality.

And these great causes of internationalism and equality come together in 2015.

2015 is a crucial year because of our general election.

And 2015 is also the year when we must reaffirm our determination and our fight to build a better world.

And today I renew our Party’s commitment.

To reduce inequality.

To fight poverty.

Because it is the right thing to do.

Because it is in Britain’s national interest that we build a better, stronger, safer world for everyone

And because it defines who we are as a country.

And I want to talk to you about the once in a generation opportunity that 2015 gives us, and the difference a Labour government will make.

I grew up in the 1980s.

The era of Live Aid.

The era when international development seemed a forgotten subject.

The era when if you had said Britain would become a country that was going to be a world leader on development, people would have said it wouldn’t happen.

But it has happened.

It happened because of a Labour government.

But here is the truth, it didn’t just happen because of that government, it happened because of all of you.

The people who campaigned, who demanded who would not take No for an answer.

It is your efforts that made it possible.

And there is no greater sign of success than the fact that spending 0.7% of our national income on aid is now enshrined in the law of land.

Now some people will tell you that this aid isn’t well spent, that it can’t make a difference.

All of us have a responsibility to show why that is not the case.

UK aid helped drive us towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

And as a result, today, 17,000 fewer children die every day.

More people than ever have access to clean drinking water.

We have begun to reverse the spread of Aids.

Nine out of ten children in developing regions attend primary school.

That’s 58 million more children in education than 15 year’s ago.

The Millennium Development Goals have shown how we have made a difference.

How we can make a difference.

How we will make a difference.

The world came together, worked together, and has saved lives together.

Let us applaud that work.

And let us tell all of those parties including UKIP, who threaten this aid, that we are proud of what we have done.

Not as a matter of charity but as a matter of justice.

We are proud to be a country honouring our responsibilities to the world’s poorest countries.

But because we are the Labour Party, we focus not on the work already done, but the work we still have to do.

6.6 million children under the age of 5 each year die from preventable causes.

31 million girls do not attend primary school.

A billion people suffer each year because they cannot obtain the health services they need.

And more than a billion people still live in extreme poverty in our world.

These are the facts about our unequal, unjust, unfair world.

But these facts are not immutable or immovable.

They can be changed.

The Millennium Development Goals showed it.

And we have a responsibility to ensure that the new Sustainable Development Goals can show it too.

But only with leadership.

In just five months’ time we have a unique opportunity to make a difference again; when the world comes together at the UN General Assembly in September.

And we must seize the opportunity with the power of example and urge other countries to step up to the plate and commit to 0.7%.

The benchmark of whether you are doing your bit.

And we must seize the opportunity by arguing for universal health coverage not just here but around the world.

I promise you this: with a Labour government, we will protect and defend our National Health Service.

And we will also establish a new centre for universal health coverage, bringing the insights and expertise of our NHS to bear in helping the world’s poorest people have access to healthcare.

We will champion the values of the NHS all around the world.

And we will recognise the importance of economic development, companies playing their part in building a better world.

So we will engage with the private sector, supporting best business practice both at home and abroad.

And friends that means the right practices in relation to tax.

Let us tell the truth: tax avoidance is not just wrong, it is ruinous for the world’s poorest countries.

When companies exploit natural resources and don’t pay their fair share, it deprives developing countries of the revenues they need for healthcare, education and public services.

It deprives them of the very chance of development that is so often urged upon them.

So we will champion the fight against tax avoidance at home and abroad.

No hiding place in the tax havens, no loopholes in the tax system.

And we won’t any longer tolerate a situation where the richest countries obtain information about who the tax avoiders are but don’t share it with the poorest.

This too is a basic matter of justice.

And we will also work with companies to ensure they have sustainable supply chains, free from slavery.

And that they treat their workers fairly and pay taxes where they are due.

Decent wages.

Rights at work.

Education.

This is an agenda where the next Labour government will build an alliance with business and the private sector, so many of whom recognise the importance of doing all of these things.

All these things matter.

And a central part of our campaign must be the fight against inequality.

We see today that nearly half the world’s wealth is owned by just one per cent of the population.

Inequality scars our society, and it scars our planet.

It doesn’t just make some of us poorer, it makes us all poorer.

So I will put the struggle against inequality at the heart of the settlement we make in September.

And 2015 is not just a moment when we must act to tackle global poverty and inequalities, but where we must act on climate change.

Nothing matters more to the generation that is just growing up than protecting our environment.

If we do not tackle climate change, millions of people will fall back into poverty.

Because we know that climate change hits the poorest hardest.

Let me tell you: I won’t be the kind of politician who puts a wind turbine on my roof and then calls for a moratorium on wind turbines.

I care about climate change not just because it was once fashionable, but because it matters to the future of our world.

And with each year that goes by, the evidence grows stronger not weaker.

Here too, we will lead by example.

The last Labour government was the first government in the world to set binding targets in law for reducing emissions.

The next Labour government will be one of the first in the world to take the carbon out of our electricity by 2030.

And leading by example we will urge the world to act.

Let me tell you what we must achieve in Paris at the crucial talks this year.

A plan based on the scientific evidence.

Preventing warming of more than 2 degrees.

Maximum ambition.

And a plan to make it possible for the world’s poorest countries to grow in a sustainable way.

I will do whatever it takes, to get this deal.

And in climate change and in international development, it is about political leaders and the job we do.

The summits later this year are vital to ensuring the world moves together.

But it is also about something else.

It is about you.

In the end, don’t believe the idea that it is political leaders who change the county, or change the world.

It is movements and people that really change the world.

Just look at the great changes we have seen throughout history: they would never have happened without a movement.

History shows us that real change comes only when there is public pressure and political will.

That means you in this room.

So I am asking you to stand with me, I am asking you to fight with me, I am asking you to be the movement that helps build change in our world.

To end global poverty and inequality.

To fight for health and education.

To tackle climate change.

And to make it happen, let me say this to you finally.

It will only happen if you make it happen by making a Labour government possible in the next 11 days.

By knocking on doors, by going out and campaigning, and by telling people how we can change things.

As a movement, we have always fought against the odds.

And that is true of this election.

And we know what it means, we keep fighting till the very end.

Till 10pm on May 7th.

We have 11 days to elect a Labour government.

And 11 days to change our country.

Let’s make it happen.

Ed Miliband speech on Foreign Policy at Chatham House

24 April 2015

Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, in a speech at Chatham House said:

It is a great privilege to be here today.
Chatham House has always led the way in shaping new thinking on Britain’s place in the world.
So with the general election less than two weeks away now, there is no better place to come to set out my case.
On how I will seek to reshape our great country’s relationship with our allies and partners.
And how Britain can play its part in overcoming the great global challenges that we now face.
My argument to you today is a simple but important one.

The next Labour government will stand up for Britain and ensure that our country takes a strong and confident place on the world stage.
It is time to reject the small-minded isolationism that has characterised this government.
It is an approach that has shrunk our influence and weakened Britain.
We need a government that is outward looking, not inward looking.

Optimistic about our role, not pessimistic.
But just as we should learn from the mistakes of this government, so too we should learn from our past too.
Including the 2003 Iraq War.
Recognising that we are always stronger, more effective and have more authority when we work with allies across the world and seek to strengthen not weaken multilateral institutions.
So:
Standing up for Britain.
Speaking out for Britain.
And using Britain’s influence in cooperation with others.

That will be the essence of the foreign policy of the government I lead.
And that is the approach I want to lay out for you today.

I know my first responsibility as Prime Minister would be to keep our country safe.
Because the threats we face are real.
Here at home and abroad.
From nuclear proliferation.
To ISIL.

To Russia and Ukraine.
To the changing balance of power between East and West.
To the on-going national security challenge that is climate change.
To the terrible and heart-breaking scenes we have witnessed in the Mediterranean this week.
And these challenges reflect powerful global trends that any government – Labour or Conservative – must now confront.
Forces that shape the world in which we all live.
Let me describe three of them.
The first concerns the very complexity of the global challenges that confront us.
The threats we face now are not generally the old threat from single states.
They cross borders and boundaries.
And they are more complex than the deeply dangerous but more traditional inter-state rivalry of the past.
It is true of the dangers of ISIL, motivated by an evil ideology that recognises no borders.
It is true of the mass migration caused by conflicts that stretch across entire regions, especially in North Africa and across the Middle East.
And it is true of climate change, which threatens the future of everyone, no matter where they live.
This means that they can’t effectively be confronted by any single state.
Not the United States.

Not China.

Not the UK.
No country on their own.
But they can only possibly be tackled by concerted action by countries all round the world.
And it is not just the complexity and trans-national nature of the challenges we face that matters.
The second trend means that we confront them at a time when so many of the institutions that we have relied on in the past find themselves under strain.
From the EU to the UN, the multilateral institutions that were crafted after the Second World War face more serious pressure than they have known before.

Both from outside their institutions and from within.
With their reputation undermined by the challenge of a series of global crises to which they appear not to have been able properly to respond.
From Iraq more than a decade ago, to Syria today to the continued stalemate in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.
As well as the continued belligerence of states that seek to undermine the international order that these institutions are designed to uphold.
And a third trend makes this more difficult still.

For we live now at a time not only when international institutions are losing support but when individual states themselves also find it harder to act.
So many countries round the world are faced by serious budgetary constraints in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Meaning that their capacity and willingness to respond internationally has been dimmed.
And others are undermined by deep and persistent struggles within their own population.
With rightful demands for greater democracy, greater accountability and greater equality destabilising old orders, without always leading straightforwardly to stable reform.
So in two weeks’ time any government will be facing the same challenges.

Threats which cross boundaries.
International institutions under strain.
States in all parts of the world facing difficulties of their own.
These global trends are unavoidable.
But the crucial truth we must acknowledge is that the difficulties Britain faces in navigating this new global order are made far worse because of decisions being made by our government.
David Cameron has presided over the biggest loss of influence for our country in a generation.
And that has happened because the government he leads has stepped away from the world, rather than confidently towards it.
It is an approach that has shrunk our influence and weakened Britain.
And the evidence for that is all around us.
Take the situation of Russia and Ukraine.
Was there ever a more apt symbol of Britain’s isolation and waning influence than when David Cameron was absent as the leaders of Germany and France tried to negotiate peace with President Putin?
And we have seen it this week with regard to the crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean.
In Libya, Labour supported military action to avoid the slaughter the Qaddafi regime threatened in Benghazi.
But since the action, the failure of post conflict planning has become obvious.
David Cameron was wrong to assume that Libya was a country whose institutions could simply be left to evolve and transform themselves.
What we have seen in Libya is that when tensions over power and resource began to emerge, they simply reinforced deep seated ideological and ethnic fault lines in the country, meaning the hopes of the revolutionary uprisings quickly began to unravel.
The tragedy is this could have been anticipated.
It should have been avoided.
And Britain could have played its part in ensuring the international community stood by the people of Libya in practice rather than standing behind the unfounded hopes of potential progress only in principle.
And by far the most important cause of our loss of influence is the position of the government in regard to the European Union.
With the threat of an in/out referendum on an arbitrary timetable, no clear goals for their proposed European renegotiation, no strategy for achieving it and a governing party riven with internal divisions over our future in the EU.
Including a Foreign Secretary who has openly advocated leaving the European Union.
All this poses a grave risk to Britain’s positon in the world.

Of course, the European Union needs to change.
There are demands for it to change in almost every member state.

On immigration, on benefits, on the rights of national parliaments.
And Britain should be leading the process of reform.
But this government’s approach to Europe means that even when Britain’s interests are shared by other member states, EU leaders are reluctant to support us because they think we already have one foot out of the door.
And our loss of influence in Europe leads to a further loss of influence in the world.

From the United States to China.

We are stronger as a leading partner in the EU.
And we are weaker when we are not.
One of the many mistakes of Euro-scepticism is to believe that we are somehow more influential with others if we depart the EU when the opposite is true.
It is precisely our influence within the EU which makes us more influential in the world.
And of course, none of this had to be the case.
David Cameron has pursued his strategy not because of any great political principle or ideal.
In fact, the irony is that he says he believes in staying in the EU.
He has done it because he has been pushed there by political forces in his own party and by his fear of other political parties in our country.
It is the rise of Conservative euroscepticism and UKIP that has led him to this position.
He has taken us to the edge of European exit because he has been too weak to control his own party.

And too anxious about the rise of UKIP.

A rise he should have challenged but pandered to instead.
And these problems have worsened dramatically in the last few weeks.
Because worried about losing power, the Conservatives are now trying to do everything they can to talk up the prospects of the SNP and pit English nationalism against Scottish nationalism.
Let me be clear: this is incredibly dangerous for our country.
We shouldn’t be turning one part of the UK against another.

We should be standing up for the whole of the UK.
We shouldn’t be sweeping away what binds us together in favour of emphasising what drives us apart.
Or trying to obscure the real issue of the election-the kind of country we want to be, both at home and abroad.
I believe the real task for Britain is not to divide between one nation and another but to build a United Kingdom that works for all.
Because that is a country that can then be more confident in the world.
And Labour is proud and confident as to what our country can achieve in the world.
We are and will continue to be one of the most capable global powers.
We have the world’s fifth largest defence budget, the second largest aid budget and the fourth largest diplomatic network in the world.
And we have the skills and the people able to deliver for Britain in the years ahead.
Our military personnel who have served us so bravely in the conflicts of the last decade.
Diplomats around the world who are some of the best and brightest men and women serving any country.
And the unparalleled reach and impact of the BBC World Service and our other journalists.
With such talent and reach there is no reason Britain should shrink from the world.
So the goal of my government will be to ensure Britain is unified at home and strong and confident and outward looking in the world.
But to do that we need to re-engage.
To be willing to play our part both to secure our interests and pursue our values.
And we need to do so in the right way.
And as we seek to re-engage in this way we need to learn the key lessons both of this government and of the government that went before.
In particular learning the lessons of 2003 Iraq war.

There are a number of lessons:
For when military action is appropriate, for how we work through multilateral institutions and with regional partners and in ensuring there is always a plan for peace. 
And these are some of the reasons I opposed the proposed intervention in Syria in 2013.
So we need to begin working with our allies and partners in the community of nations once again in a genuine and hard-headed multilateralism because that is what the times demand.
What the world needs now is an organised and sustained solidarity between like-minded nations.
Seeking to uphold international law.

That was the way we rebuilt after the Second World War: through NATO, the European Union, the ECHR.
Securing peace and promoting democratic values together.
And that is what is at stake today.
Labour was proud to play a crucial part in shaping that order in the past as we emerged from the Second World War.
The Labour government that I lead will always seek to do that in the future.
So what does this vision mean in practice?
What would be the concrete priorities of an incoming Labour government as we seek to restore Britain’s relationship with the world?
There are, of course, many.

We must maintain our independent nuclear capability, with a continuous at sea deterrent.
We must work within the EU to help resolve the immediate crisis in the Mediterranean.
We must step up our efforts to help bring about the two state solution in Israel and Palestine that is desperately needed.
A secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine.
This is, after all, a conflict that scars the region and the world and there can be no true stability in our world without its resolution.
These are crucial issues but let me outline three central tasks for you today in a little more detail.
First, our mission will start by restoring our commitment to international institutions.
The UN, NATO, the Commonwealth, and, of course, the European Union.
As I have explained, all of these institutions have faced serious challenges of late.
We will rebuild our influence.
That starts with the European Union.
I want a clear message to be sent to our European partners that an incoming Labour government will be serious about leading once again in Europe and serious also about reforming Europe.
We have said that in the unlikely event of a transfer of powers from Britain to the EU in the next Parliament, we will have an in/out referendum.
But we are sure that Britain’s future lies inside not outside a reformed EU.
We will never put our national interest at risk by threatening to leave.
And we want to get on with the business of reforming Europe in a way that helps Britain and the EU as a whole.
We will charge all of our European Ambassadors with the pursuit of this clear European reform strategy.
We also need to look beyond the EU.
And that includes our commitment to NATO.
NATO is and must remain the foundation of our defence and security partnership and we will work tirelessly to ensure its greater effectiveness.
Western unity and resolve are essential, as we have seen in the face of Russian aggression in the Ukraine.
NATO needs to send the signals of deterrence required to prevent the line of confrontation being moved further west.
And that includes signals from across the alliance that even when times are hard at home we remain committed to our armed forces.
I am not going to set out a spending review today.
Indeed it is crucial that we complete our Strategic Defence and Security Review well before long term spending decisions are taken to ensure we avoid the mistakes of the poorly conceived SDSR of 2010.‎
But I want to be absolutely clear that amongst the reasons we reject the extreme spending cuts that the Conservative Party propose is that they would be truly catastrophic for the future of our armed forces.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies set out yesterday that they would mean at least 18% budget reductions for departments like the MOD – significantly more than the cut to Defence in this parliament.‎
Promises of protection for specific parts of the defence budget are meaningless in that world.
They simply will not be delivered.
That is why the prospect of these Conservative cuts alarms our allies abroad and our military personnel here at home.
Even Conservative politicians with defence expertise recognise the dangers of what is planned.
I am not going to pretend that there won’t be difficult choices in the years ahead as we deal with the deficit.
And I will not repeat David Cameron’s mistake of making promises before an election, in his case of a larger army, only to break them in government.
But we simply will not take the extreme approach our opponents propose.
I am not going to sacrifice the defence of our country on an ideological commitment to a significantly smaller state.
Indeed we are in the unprecedented situation going into this election.
It is now Labour that is much better positioned to find the resources that our armed forces need to maintain our security in the next Parliament.
So, first, we will recommit our country to the international partnerships that make it strong and that allow us to respond to the challenges we face.
Second, we will reconsider the place of military intervention in the way that we respond to the world’s problems.
Today, we face failed states and civil wars across the entire wider Middle East region – from the western Sahel through to Somalia and Sudan, from Yemen to Syria and Iraq, and in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Many share key elements: weak and corrupt states lacking legitimacy, the growing influence of Islamist extremists, inter-state rivalry, and limited progress towards democracy.
And all this matters for the UK.
These conflicts are already spilling over into Europe through terrorism, growing illegal migration, organised crime – and all these will worsen if the conflicts intensify.
So we must respond at home and abroad.
We must do all we can to protect our borders, investing in capable intelligence and security services.
We must update the law surrounding internet communications, including with proper oversight.
And ensure robust controls to prevent people travelling to take part in the Syrian conflict and to ensure those returning are properly managed.
And we must respond by building partnerships abroad.
The challenge posed by ISIL’s barbarism is the most pressing case.
Following a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, it was right that the UK joined other nations in air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq.
But military action alone will not defeat ISIL.
A long-term multinational political strategy, with regional actors playing a central role, is essential to tackle the rise of extremism across the region.
And as we do so we will learn the lessons of previous interventions.
Not seeking to solve the world’s problems on our own but working with international, regional and local partners.
Any intervention must be carried out with a clearly defined strategy.
And this must include a comprehensive transition and post conflict strategy.
These are the vital lessons of our recent past and I will not forget them.
Third, we will put reducing inequality, tackling climate change and promoting human rights at the core of our agenda.
Not just because that is the right thing to do.

But because it is vital for the long-term interests of our country.
Labour will proudly lead the world in maintaining our commitment to giving 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income towards international development.
And when it comes to climate change, we will help set ambitious emissions targets for all countries, reviewed every five years, based on a scientific assessment of the progress towards the 2 degree centigrade goal.
We will set a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century.
Have transparent, universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions with all countries adopting climate change adaptation plans.
And ensure an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in their efforts to combat climate change.
None of this will happen by itself.
It will take concerted action by countries all across the world.
And require Britain to play the kind of role that I was privileged to shape at the Copenhagen summit during the last government.
The UN summit in Paris later this year will be our chance to demonstrate again how this can work.
And show what Britain can achieve.
And our commitment to universal human rights will also be at the heart of our foreign policy across the world.
We will appoint Lord Michael Cashman as our International LGBT Rights Envoy, to help work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.
And we will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Our country faces a big choice in just under two weeks’ time.
It is a choice between different ideas about how our country succeeds here at home.
But it is also a choice about our country’s place in the world.
The Conservative view threatens to divide us internally and to weaken our position abroad.
A pessimistic isolationism.

That learns the wrong lessons from our past.

And undermines our nation’s future.
Or a Labour view.

That says we are stronger as a country when we look boldly, confidently outward to the world.

Not turning in on ourselves or acting on our own.
But working with our allies, never for them.
A genuine and hard-headed multilateralism.
With our values at its core.

That’s how Britain can succeed.

That’s how Britain will make a difference.

I look forward to doing it together.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers