Topical Questions

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Vice-Chair, Conservative Party 12:00 am, 21st November 2018

If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Secretary of State for International Development, Minister for Women and Equalities

Next year, the UK will present a voluntary national review to the United Nations, setting out our progress on meeting the sustainable development goals. The Government welcome this opportunity to present all that we are doing to deliver this ambitious agenda in the UK and around the world. It is a team effort and I am incredibly proud of how so many British businesses, civil society and other groups are helping to achieve those goals. I hope that all hon. Members will encourage their constituents to share their stories during the start of this review process by going to the gov.uk portal.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

Last year, Members across the House welcomed DFID’s £3 million of funding aimed at bringing Israelis and Palestinians together. Will my right hon. Friend update the House on the allocation of the funding for those projects to help to bring these groups together?

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

This invaluable programme is now up and running. It is working in Israel and the Palestinian territories to bring together young leaders and connect them, to work together on reducing tensions on inter-religious sacred sites, and to help to tackle a neglected tropical disease, leishmaniasis, by working co-operatively together.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

Climatic change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. What are the Government doing to protect the world’s poorest? Will they make it a top priority?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The hon. Gentleman will be pleased to hear that £5.8 billion from our aid budget is to be spent in this area over the years to come and that so far it has helped 47 million people adapt to climate change around the world.

Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean Conservative, Redditch

Earlier this month, I visited Kenya as part of the armed forces parliamentary scheme and heard from the defence support there about the work it is doing to tackle al-Shabaab. How is the Department working with the Ministry of Defence to promote peace and prosperity?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

I am so pleased my hon. Friend had the chance to visit Kenya and see that remarkable work. We are working throughout east Africa to ensure a comprehensive approach to defence and security as well as to humanitarian issues across the region.

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

In the light of yesterday’s horrifying revelations of children being beaten, tortured and starved in Libyan detention centres to which they have been returned after trying to cross the Mediterranean, will the Government increase the number of safe and legal routes to sanctuary using refugee resettlement?

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The situation in Libya remains extremely difficult. These abuses that come to light remind us all that Libya cannot be forgotten and that the efforts to reduce conflict and create peace must continue, as happened in Palermo last week. We are spending £75 million on safer migration routes to help tackle some of these crises, and we continue to do all we can to get people out of the difficult areas, but it requires international co-operation.

Photo of Mary Robinson Mary Robinson Conservative, Cheadle

Can the Secretary of State update the House on the UK’s contribution to eliminating polio around the world, and will she join me in welcoming the efforts of Bramhall and Woodford Rotary through its Purple4Polio fundraising campaign?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Secretary of State for International Development, Minister for Women and Equalities

We should praise the work of British Rotarians and Rotarians around the world for the progress they are making on eradicating this disease. When it is achieved—and it will be—it will be only the second time in humanitarian history that it has been done.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

The Secretary of State might be aware that the greatest killer of children and young people in our world is road accidents and the attendant serious injuries. Could we put more money into partnership working with the United Nations and the World Health Organisation to tackle this problem?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Secretary of State for International Development, Minister for Women and Equalities

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the long-term campaign work he has done on this. He will know that we have just announced some new programming to mitigate the enormous number of road traffic accidents around the world. It is not just our money but our technical support that is allowing that to happen.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne Conservative, New Forest West

Will the Secretary of State take note of World Vision’s campaign on behalf of children in conflict, “It Takes A World”?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Secretary of State for International Development, Minister for Women and Equalities

I will certainly do that. I praise World Vision for the campaign and all the work it does. Children in conflict zones are a priority for my Department, and I would also like to put on the record our thanks to the Evening Standard for its War Child fundraising appeal.

Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow

Over 160 British parliamentarians have called on the UK Government to refer the Burmese military to the International Criminal Court. Does the Secretary of State agree that unless we hold them to account for their genocidal intent, it will be impossible to return the Rohingya from Bangladesh to Burma without risking further atrocities?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Secretary of State for International Development, Minister for Women and Equalities

The hon. Lady is absolutely right. As I said earlier, we continue to consider all means of holding people to account for these appalling atrocities. As well as other measures, including the recognition of citizens’ rights, justice is a major part of giving people the confidence to return.