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Ed Miliband tells Cosmo: If I could change one thing in the world it would be to end extreme poverty

2 April 2015

Ed Miliband was asked by Cosmo, if there was one thing he could change in the world, what would it be? Here’s what he answered:

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Read the rest of his answers here!

The Choice on International Development

1 April 2015

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.

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Leading in the World – Labour’s manifesto pledges

Globalisation has increased connectivity between countries and people, as global challenges increasingly demand global solutions. Instead of building upon Britain’s role in addressing global challenges, David Cameron has been content to watch from the sidelines. Time and again he has put his Party before his country – he is sleepwalking Britain towards exit from the European Union, trying to keep his Party in line while putting British jobs at risk. Meanwhile, Britain’s commitment to climate change, human rights and multilateral organisations has frequently fallen by the wayside, with a reliance on the private sector for the delivery of development assistance not being met with adequate levels of transparency and accountability.

Labour’s Plan

The next Labour Government will put Britain back at the heart of global affairs. We believe Britain must play a proactive role in tackling international issues and we won’t shy away from the big challenges: working to eliminate extreme poverty, supporting countries transitioning to democracy, tackling terrorism and climate change. With Labour, Britain will lead by example, working with our partners worldwide to promote our values and defend our national interests. Only by doing so can we hope to build a better, safer and more secure world. And because Britain will be better off remaining at the heart of a reformed EU, Labour will make the hard-headed, patriotic case both for reform in Europe, not exit from Europe.

Labour will:

  • Ensure an outward-facing Britain, using our assets to amplify our influence worldwide.
  • Lead by example on human rights, upholding them domestically through the Human Rights Act, and advocating them overseas.
  • Put reducing inequality, climate change, and promoting universal health care at the heart of international development, pushing for an ambitious agreement in 2015.

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The Conservative’s pledges on international development

Nothing. Not a single word. See for yourself on their own website.

 

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.

 

#DevelopmentDoorstep this Saturday 28th!

25 March 2015

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Join LCID members, the LCID executive and MPs to campaign for Neil Coyle in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, and Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn.

These are two of the key target seats in London – Hampstead and Kilburn has a tiny majority and Bermondsey is a high profile seat we need to take from the Lib Dems. The day will be a great opportunity to meet other LCID members. We’ll be arranging both a place for lunch and dinner so please join us for the day.

We will also be joined by special guests including:
– LCID Honorary Co-President Glenys Kinnock and Neil Kinnock
– LCID Vice-President Seb Dance MEP
– Laura Kyrke-Smith, Lord Malloch Brown’s speechwriter as Africa Minister, who will share her top five lessons from her time at the Foreign Office.

We will be meeting at Borough tube station entrance at 10.30am to campaign for Neil Coyle.

We will then head to Hampstead and Kilburn in the afternoon to campaign for Tulip Siddiq, meeting at 3pm at Swiss Cottage tube.

Hope you can join us! Please let us know you are coming by clicking here.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT – ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION, March 20th 2015

23 March 2015

We met on 20th March with Thangam Debbonaire, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, David Jepson, Chair, and 15 other people.

The Labour government made very significant progress in relation to international development, with cabinet member status, commitment and major progress to attaining the target of 0.7% and focus on poverty reduction and millennium development goals. It is being eroded by the current government -for example backbenchers voting against and attempts to divert money to aspects of military expenditure. If the government is re-elected, it seems likely that this will continue for political and financial reasons.

Labour will retain the commitment and build on this commitment including budget allocation of 0.7% and the focus on supporting fragile and conflict states and will also give priority to tackling inequality, workers’ rights / decent work and tackling climate change.

Our discussion suggested that workers’ rights should be a central theme to ensure fair pay as well as reasonable working and contractual conditions, including in more rapidly growing middle Income countries. It will help move towards a fair playing field for working people internationally. Corporate Social Responsibility for multinational companies in terms of their global employment practices, environmental impact and record on taxation. In addition to scope for government level intervention, there is also a role for consumer pressure and also support from the Labour Party and from trades unions too. We also felt that the impact of climate change was transcending other areas of intervention and needed to be a central feature. The current government do not accord a key priority to this and the debate is influenced by climate change deniers on the right of politics. A continued emphasis on education for all children for all should also be a priority for UK support.

We should aim to develop a more bottom up and community based approach to the development and fine tuning of policy and the delivery of support so harnessing the knowledge and experience of our communities. Communities in Bristol have veryconsiderable knowledge, from different perspectives. Drawing on this will help ensure that support has the maximum impact on those who need it. Local government should also play a role in this and Bristol’s twinning links could be used better in this respect. Within recipient countries, small scale, locally based community organisations should be able to access development funding as well as larger and more powerful international bodies. However, the strengthening of the capacity and accountability of national governments should not be undermined.

There are different streams of development funding that support development. Including multinational funding (such as the EU), national funding (such as DFID), international NGOs supported via donations etc. (such as Oxfam, Cafod, Save the Children) but we should not forget the streams of funding channelled directly from individuals and communities (for example to Somalia or Pakistan). The important role of remittances was raised and more effort needed to ease this process and make it more effective. Maybe match funding from DFID or other funders could be introduced. It was also suggested that a crowd funding mechanism could be used to channel and focus community resources to specific projects in recipient countries.

In relation to next steps, we agreed to build a data base of people with an interest in / commitment to international development and hold a further meeting. We would explore specific ideas on crowd funding of projects, the role of remittances and building on Bristol’s twinning links.

“Back in the Ivory Coast, I managed to get a pen, book and blackboard at my school only thanks to international aid.”

10 March 2015

by Ake Achi, LCID’s Unions and Affiliates Liaison Officer

Yesterday was the day the UK’s commitment to people in need reached another level.

As a former child labourer, I spent more time in my family’s plantations planting cocoa and cafe trees, and cooking their beans, than most people drink hot chocolate and coffee in a day.

The 0.7% target now enshrined into law is a great relief. LCID has led a great fight to win the battle, but we still have a war against poverty to win.

Back in the Ivory Coast, I managed to get a pen, book and blackboard at my school only thanks to international aid.

Although we must go beyond aid, for this victory, thank you to all the members of LCID who have been fighting like lions to make sure that international development remains a priority for the next Labour government.

LCID was there at every stage to ensure that the 0.7% target becomes a reality. On the behalf of my nephews and nieces who are still working in the plantations, I say thank you to you. You are the true friends of the people in developing countries.

0.7% aid law passes – thanks to Labour, and you.

9 March 2015

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Just a few minutes ago the bill to enshrine our country’s aid spending in law passed it’s final hurdle. It’s been voted through both Houses of Parliament and will soon be on the statute book.

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 our aid promise, the bill will soon be law.

It was touch and go at times, but Labour Peers were able to see off attempts by Tory Peers to wreck the bill in the House of Lords – including by their former Chancellor and the PM’s own father-in-law. It only got through the House of Commons because of Labour’s supportmore Labour MPs voted for the aid law than all the other Parties combined.

This victory belongs to all of us – Labour Party members, our representatives in Parliament and former Government Ministers alike – many of whom have been pushing for this moment for decades. Thank you to them. And thank you as well to every LCID supporter who encouraged MPs to vote for this bill – 1 in 4 of the Labour MPs who voted for the bill were LCID members or encouraged to attend the vote by LCID.

The law secures a key piece of our Party’s legacy – and ensures that in the coming years we in Britain continue to provide our fair share in the fight to make poverty history.

Change does not happen by chance – it happens by choice. We’ll be celebrating this victory, but then we’ll be doing all we can to help return a Labour Government in May so we can build on this achievement and help transform even more lives for the better. Poverty is political – fight it with us and come along to #DevelopmentDoorstep on 28th March!

Thank you again,

Charlie, Laura, Joe, David, Bethan, Sarah, Mann, Farah, Suzanne, Laura, Stuart, Billy, Namaa, Ake, and Mike.

2015: A Year of Opportunity for Women’s Rights

8 March 2015

Nowhere in the world are women and girls equal – violence affects women and girls in every corner of the globe, women are often excluded from fully and equally participating in decisions that affect their lives, and they often do not have control over their sexual and reproductive health and rights. However as a new report by Womankind Worldwide evidences, 2015 is a year of opportunity for women’s rights. Progress on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action – agreed in 1995 and seen as the most visionary and comprehensive framework on women’s rights and gender equality – is being reviewed. Furthermore, global discussions on the Post-2015 development framework (the follow up to the Millennium Development Goals) will culminate in autumn in a new development framework that will dictate funding priorities for years to come. And in October there is a 15-year Global Review of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 – which recognises women’s right to full and equal participation in peacebuilding. As an incoming Labour government, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to accelerate progress towards the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread and persistent abuses of human rights, with 35% of women experiencing at least one form of violence in her lifetime. Violence is rooted in gender inequality, including the patriarchal social norms related to male authority, acceptance of wife beating and female subordination. Recent years have seen an increase in commitments to tackle violence against women and girls. However, progress towards supporting survivors of abuse and preventing violence remains unacceptably slow. In addition, there is a worrying trend towards focusing on types of violence, for instance sexual violence in conflict. This obscures the interconnected nature of violence and risks the transformative approach needed to end abuse. As an incoming Labour government, we will have the opportunity to champion a robust indicator on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in the Post-2015 framework. We can advocate a move beyond rhetoric and make a life without violence a reality for women and girls across the globe.

Women’s equal and meaningful participation and influence in decision making at all levels, and in both formal and informal spaces, is fundamentally a question of social justice – women have the right to participate in decisions which affect their lives. Despite this, only one in five parliamentarians are women, women account for only 13 of 193 heads of government and in local government women make up only 20% of elected councillors. Based on current trends in representation, women will not be equally represented in parliaments until 2065, and will not make up half the world’s leaders until 2134. Whilst women’s national level formal political participation is important, it is at the local level that many of the decisions that affect women’s rights take place. It is this context that makes the prioritisation of women’s participation at both national and local level so crucial. The Labour Party has an excellent track record of supporting women’s participation through all-women shortlists and has committed to a 50-50 cabinet on entering Number 10 – we therefore have both the legitimacy and experience to take forward women’s participation domestically and internationally.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are a critical part of women’s rights. The ability of all women, including young women and adolescent girls, to exercise their reproductive rights to make free and informed choices about their fertility, and about whether and when to have children is a central component of gender equality. Access to contraception, based on informed choice, empowers women and girls to decide when to have children and can transform their position in the household, community, school, the labour force, political sphere and wider society. Pregnancy, unsafe abortion and childbirth remain the leading causes of death and disability among women of reproductive age in many countries today. Almost 800 women die every day in pregnancy and childbirth, largely from preventable causes. The Labour Party has long taken a right-based approach to development – this approach is critical to the achievement of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to safe abortion.

There is a growing body of research demonstrating that women’s rights organisations and women’s rights movements are important catalysts in interventions to promote greater gender equality, realise women’s rights and prevent violence against women and girls. Women’s rights organisations are particularly well placed to increase women’s consciousness and agency and have pioneered a range of effective models for mobilising and empowering women to come together to know and claim their rights. Despite their enormous value add, many women’s rights organisations are struggling to survive in the current aid environment marked by changed aid modalities, increasing competition for funding, and the heavy demands of the ‘results agenda’. The Association of Women’s Rights in Development’s (AWID) found in its global survey of 1119 women’s organisations from over 140 countries that 35% of organisations sampled experienced a significant budget shortfall, with one-fifth of organisations facing the threat of closure; and only 28% of women’s rights organisations surveyed received core funding and nearly half had never received core funding. We have a history of recognising the innovation, knowledge and experience of civil society organisations. A new Labour government can build on this recognition by providing flexible, core and long-term funding for women’s rights organisations.

2015 is a year of opportunity for women’s rights and it is a Labour government which can champion and secure the commitments needed to secure a future where gender equality is a reality for women and girls across the world

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