UN Target: Aid

The Secretary of State Was Asked – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 2017.

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Photo of Matt Rodda Matt Rodda Labour, Reading East 12:00 am, 12th July 2017

Whether the Government plan to continue to meet the UN target of spending 0.7% of GDP on aid to developing countries for the duration of this Parliament.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

Meeting the 0.7% of GNI target for overseas aid is a manifesto commitment. It is enshrined in law, and the Government have been unequivocal that we will continue to honour that pledge.

Photo of Matt Rodda Matt Rodda Labour, Reading East

As well as committing to the United Nations target of spending 0.7% of GDP on aid to developing countries, does the Secretary of State agree that poverty reduction must be at the heart of UK aid spending?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to the House. He is absolutely right, and that is exactly what our aid spending does. Importantly, poverty reduction is at the heart of the definition in terms of official development assistance spending, and that is something that the Government are absolutely focused on.

Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

The 0.7% is extremely valuable in alleviating poverty. Will the Secretary of State update the House on the important summit on family planning that she attended yesterday and tell us what it achieved?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

Family planning is an enormous issue for development and poverty alleviation. Yesterday, we convened a summit with our co-hosts, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many representatives from around the world made big pledges and commitments to tackle family planning. The United Kingdom has led the way on the issue, but we are also working with the private sector to put more money into this area and to develop new commodities.

Photo of Chris Law Chris Law Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Climate Justice)

What percentage of the budget will be spent on helping developing countries to tackle climate change? Will the Secretary of State follow Scotland’s example and establish a climate justice fund, or will the Government tie themselves to Donald Trump’s attitude to climate change, which Professor Stephen Hawking recently described as pushing

“the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulphuric acid”?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

Let me be clear about this Government’s commitment to climate change reduction. We are a signatory to the Paris agreement, which we are committed to delivering. As for the spending percentage, it is important to stress that we have a range of spending across Departments. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which leads on climate control and climate change, is working with DFID, because climate change issues such as drought and famine have a massive impact and cause a great deal of harm in various parts of the world.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

Constituents from Chipping Barnet are coming to Parliament today to set out their concerns about Christians in Syria facing oppression and persecution. Will the Secretary of State use the aid budget to alleviate the suffering of Christian communities during their times of trouble?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

I thank my right hon. Friend for her question and commend her and her constituents for the work that they are doing. UK aid and funding are distributed to those in need, including persecuted Christians around the world. Importantly, we are standing up for them and giving them a voice in parts of the world where conflict is happening.

Photo of Kate Osamor Kate Osamor Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

As well as recommitting to the UN target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid to developing countries, will the Secretary of State consult civil society before proposing any further changes to or relaxation of the rules on what ODA can be spent on?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

This is an important area and I have committed to working with all partners, particularly civil society. In fact, a range of NGOs and stakeholders spent some time with me two weeks ago, and we had a constructive discussion on that very issue. The dialogue is ongoing, and I would welcome the views of many other partners.

Photo of Kate Osamor Kate Osamor Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

With the Government’s new-found desire to reach out to other parties for new ideas, precisely which of the 13 policy ideas in Labour’s 2017 manifesto does the Secretary of State now intend to implement?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

When it comes to development, it is fair to say that we agree on the national and global commitment to the 0.7% target, hence why we are having such a constructive exchange right now. In reference to the hon. Lady’s previous question, we should be working collectively and with our international partners on ODA reform.