Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, today launched the report of the Conservatives’ Globalisation and Global Poverty Policy Group, which he has chaired for the past 18 months. Already the report has been praised by key figures from the field of international development and business.
The report, which can be downloaded from http://standupspeakup.conservatives.com/Reports/InItTogether.pdf, sets out 76 detailed recommendations on how to improve aid efficiency, increase trading opportunities for poorer countries, and help tackle corruption. It argues that:
* Aid is essential but even if all countries increase their aid as Conservatives are committed to do, aid alone is not enough.
* So we must put renewed emphasis on promoting economic growth in poor countries: support for infrastructure and agriculture on which most poor people depend have been sharply reduced in recent decades. We must reverse that decline.
* Above all trade is the dynamo of growth. Peter calls for an all-party Real Trade campaign to give all low income countries ‘real trade‘ opportunities. Rich countries like the EU should unilaterally open up their markets to the products of low income countries, give more generous rules of origin, abolish the EU’s damaging export subsidies, give incentives to reduce the very high tariff barriers between developing countries and help poor countries develop their export capacity.
* We must reduce corruption; by being open and critical where it exists and requiring governments receiving our aid to tell local people how much each school, clinic, hospital etc should be receiving so that voters, media and parliaments can put pressure on governments to ensure the money gets through.
* We must co-ordinate with other donors in poor countries through Partnership Trusts so that they do not have to deal with countless conflicting donor demands. For example, Tanzania had to produce 2,400 reports for donors and hold over 1000 meetings with donors in a single year.
* We must give people a chance to prosper in their own countries or, as the UN High Commissioner warns, we will face even greater pressures of immigration into our crowded country.
The report was simultaneously launched by Peter in the UK and by David Cameron in the Rwandan Parliament.
Bob Geldof, who advised the Group said, “This report is an interesting and valuable contribution … There are many thought-through and useful recommendations in it that I hope will be adopted as Tory party policies.”
Tidjane Thiam, former Minister of Planning in Cote d‘Ivoire and Member of Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa said, “This is a remarkable report. It takes a comprehensive approach, it is easy to read and it contains a number of clear and concrete recommendations which if implemented will make a real difference to the future of the developing world.”
Save the Children said, “The work of the policy commission is an important and valuable contribution to international development policy.”
Christian Aid hailed it as “on the right track”.
People who wish to comment on the Report can have their say at http://standupspeakup.conservatives.com/.