On Tuesday 20 December, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) co-hosted a breakfast conversation with the Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, UK Minister for Development. This was organised by the APPG for the UN Global Goals on Sustainable Development and was also co-hosted by APPG on Action on Conflict and Global Britain; APPG on Extreme Poverty; APPG for Global Education; APPG for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; APPG on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases and APPG Tuberculosis.
Lord McConnell, Co-Chair of the APPG for the UN SDGs took the chair and Andrew Mitchell began by sharing his thoughts. He wants to reposition the relationship with the Select Committee so that it becomes a ‘critical friend’ rather than ‘them and us’. It is the halfway point next year from the launch of the SDGs to 2030. The International Development Strategy will have a focus on women and girls; humanitarian aid; and delivering technical expertise.
Among other things, Andrew Mitchell talked about how the Bridgetown Agenda for the Reform of the Global Financial Architecture, addressing the present adverse situation of the combination of crises and tightening monetary policies combined with a strong US$, can help increase available funds. He also pointed out that although the 0.7% of GNI funding has been reduced to 0.5%, we are in fact spending 0.55%. When Tony Blair was in power the UK was considered a development superpower and they were only spending 0.51%, less than the present spend. He went on to talk about the UK deal with Saudi Arabia which delivers $4million for a food programme to the Horn of Africa to prevent famine.
This was followed by a Q&A, with diverse questions including on funding to small organisations; SDG6 and microbial resistance; whether some developing countries will become insolvent; conflict; corruption; Eritrea peace deal; Ukrainian and Afghan refugee funding among others.
It was considered such a useful meeting – bringing together many of the APPGs concerned with development with the Minister – that the intention is to repeat it every 3 / 4 months. Thanks are due to the APPG on SDGs for having arranged this and for including the APPG on WPS.