International Development White Paper

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – in the House of Commons at on 12 December 2023.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

What steps his Department is taking to implement the UK’s commitments in the White Paper on international development, published in November 2023.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

The White Paper includes 217 commitments to be delivered through to 2030. I have asked officials in the Foreign Office to work with colleagues across Government to implement the commitments and determine the order of priority.

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

I thank the Minister for that reply and for his leadership on the excellent White Paper, particularly because, in the run-up to its publication, he clearly listened to calls for more targeted support and humanitarian relief for those who are left behind on account of their religion or belief. The challenge now is to turn those innovative commitments into reality, which will require a revised approach to development programming. Will he meet me and others at a roundtable to discuss that?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

It is always a pleasure to meet my hon. Friend, who has an office next to mine in the Foreign Office. May I thank her for her comments about the publication of the White Paper? The way in which it has been received around the world demonstrates renewed energy and vigour. I hope that it shows Britain’s reinvigorated leadership on those important matters, and, of course, value for money for our taxpayers.

Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Labour, Walsall South

The White Paper also talks about development diplomats. How many will be trained and what will be the cost?

Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Labour, Walsall South

Development diplomats—they are in the White Paper.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

Yes, the right hon. Lady is quite right: we are increasing the number of development diplomats—I thought she mentioned something about water, but I may have misheard. The point about the White Paper is that it sets out very clearly the aims and aspiration that Britain has to drive forward the sustainable development goals and ensure that we increase climate finance at this critical time. She will be pleased to have seen that and will note that we are now driving forward that agenda.