Harriett Baldwin: The Foreign Secretary meets the International Development Secretary regularly to discuss Government action on the illegal wildlife trade and to plan for the UK-hosted international conference in October, which will focus on countering that hideous crime.
Harriett Baldwin: My hon. Friend draws attention to the work we are already doing in this area. I had the privilege during the recess of complimenting the British Army, which is helping to train and work with rangers in Malawi. While I was out there I announced a programme that helps with alternative livelihoods to poaching for people who live around that park.
Harriett Baldwin: I did see reports of that very unfortunate incident. I am not clear whether there was any UK Government involvement, but it was a very sad incident. The summit we will host in October will see delegations from all over the world putting their heads together on the ways in which we can tackle the issue, both through law enforcement and through creating areas and safe space for species, and...
Harriett Baldwin: Sierra Leone held presidential and parliamentary elections in March, and power was transferred peacefully. We are aware of recent allegations of politically motivated violence and we continue to monitor the situation. The new Government have made a commitment to govern for all Sierra Leoneans, and I call on them to honour that pledge and to ensure due process in all cases.
Harriett Baldwin: On my visit to the country earlier this year, I was struck by the journey that it has gone through from civil war to the presence of United Nations peacekeepers to the terrible Ebola outbreak, so it was welcome that elections were held this year and that there was a peaceful transition of power. I would, of course, always be happy to meet the hon. Gentleman’s constituents and the...
Harriett Baldwin: Australia is one of our closest bilateral partners, and diplomatic relations are excellent. In July, we held our 10th annual ministerial talks, where we agreed to strengthen foreign, security and trade relations. The Prime Minister spoke to Australia’s new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, on 27 August.
Harriett Baldwin: I am sure the whole House will want to welcome Australia’s purchase of nine Type 26 frigates from the UK, which is a significant defence export and means that we have the “Five Eyes” frigate with our friends in Australia. The UK-Australia trade working group is meeting regularly to lay the foundations for future free trade negotiations. Indeed, there is a public consultation...
Harriett Baldwin: I am sure that diplomatic relations between the UK and Australia, despite the changes the Australians have had at their end, will endure with the stability of this Government.
Harriett Baldwin: I can confirm that we have announced this year that we are reopening an embassy in Lesotho. I thank the hon. Gentleman for drawing this case to my attention, and I will certainly follow up by writing to him about the matter.
Harriett Baldwin: Yes.
Harriett Baldwin: Investments from our aid budget in technologies are saving and changing lives all over the world. Half of our research budget this year is for new technologies in developing countries in health, agriculture, climate, clean energy, water and education and for humanitarian response in emergencies.
Harriett Baldwin: This question gives me an opportunity to pay tribute not only to the rotary club my hon. Friend mentions but to Rotarians across the world who have been working hard on this push to eradicate polio. UK Aid has been at their side throughout this journey; we have eradicated something like 99% of the world’s polio cases, but we must continue to push for that final 1%.
Harriett Baldwin: I thank my hon. Friend for highlighting such an important issue. As someone who is extremely myopic, I benefit from glasses. This is an incredibly important aspect of what we can do, and at this month’s disability summit the world will be coming together to pledge what more it can do to help with people’s inclusion around the world, and certainly vision will play a key role.
Harriett Baldwin: The hon. Lady is right to highlight this issue. She will be aware of the announcements we made alongside so many of the small island states at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April to help them with technology to adapt to the changing climate, and also the additional £61 million announced by the Prime Minister to tackle the scourge of plastics in our oceans.
Harriett Baldwin: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to draw attention to the challenges posed by climate change, particularly to the countries nearest the Sahara. UK Aid is working very closely with them, and investments in technology are helping to address that and provide drinking water for many hundreds of thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
Harriett Baldwin: This is another great example of how UK Aid can work to unlock a payment system that in many ways leapfrogs what we have here in the UK: people can pay from their mobile phone for a range of technologies and goods. Recently we had a solar fridge in DFID, and M-KOPA Solar is helping poor people in Kenya and other countries to pay for those fridges by using that technology.
Harriett Baldwin: Along with colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we are doing a lot to encourage many of these countries not only to power past coal and fossil fuels but to invest considerable amounts in renewable energy. I share the hon. Gentleman’s aspiration to work with developing countries to power past fossil fuels.
Harriett Baldwin: We supported 7.1 million children between 2015 and 2017 through bilateral and multilateral education programmes. UK leadership has secured ambitious commitments to ensure that children have access to 12 years of quality education.
Harriett Baldwin: The hon. Gentleman raises an important issue, and I can reassure him that DFID does not fund the production of any textbooks in Pakistan that contain any bias against religious minorities. I can also confirm that in terms of our support for education in Pakistan, we support independent evaluations—
Harriett Baldwin: The education strategy that we published earlier this year focuses on ensuring that people leave primary school with good literacy and maths skills and that we invest in high-quality teaching.