The future of international development?

By Rosa Brown

The International Development Secretary Priti Patel is not one to shy away from controversy. However, last month Patel appears to have outdone herself as she revealed her desire to use the UK’s aid budget for post-Brexit trade deals. In an interview with the BBC, Patel asserted that “We have to make sure that our aid works in our national interest and also that it works for our taxpayers – much more openness, much more transparency and much more accountability.” priti_patel_20161

Patel’s vision for the Department for International Development (DfID) would be concerning had it belonged to any public official. But coming from the current International Development Secretary, it sounds ill-conceived at best. To insert the taxpayer at the heart of DfID’s objectives completely neglects the countries, communities and individuals reliant on UK funding. These are the people Patel should be talking about, many of whom have been empowered by the inter-governmental organisations supported by the aid budget.

The UK’s position on the world’s stage is recognised by Patel but used to justify her take on aid, “we have a strong footprint overseas and it is right that we use that footprint in the national interest”.

Whether the UK will have such a ‘strong footprint overseas’ if Patel gets her way is questionable to say the least. Patel’s crackdown on inefficient use of public money has also inspired the MP to claim that her department should no longer support the UN’s cultural body, UNESCO. This recent move earnt the MP a ‘major rap on the knuckles’ from No 10, according to a senior government official who spoke to The Sun newspaper last week.

Whilst some have wondered whether Patel’s sole objective is to make the UK appear greedy and cruel, I think she is genuinely convinced that free trade agreements are the answer to economic prosperity for the UK. But for poor countries, free trade agreements have been found to drive economies into deeper poverty. It has been over twenty years since the Northern American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Since the agreement, Mexico’s annual per capital growth flat-lined to an average of 1.2 percent, which happens to be one of the lowest rates in the hemisphere. Twenty million Mexicans currently live in ‘food poverty’, with twenty five percent of the population unable to access basic food. This increase in poverty in the country has helped nurture organised crime recruitment and the breakdown of local communities.

Not all of Mexico’s problems can be blamed on NAFTA. But it is possible to trace a direct link between the agreement and the country’s declining economy; as NAFTA was responsible for closing alternative development paths for the economy in its prohibition of protective tariffs. The impact of NAFTA upon Mexico’s economy indicates the dangers caused by the removal of such tariffs, along with the fact that these agreements are rarely ever ‘free’.6624096043_60551c99cb_o

The implications of Patel’s comments on the international aid budget cannot be detached from its post-Brexit context. These comments have come at a time when many political agreements relating to the EU are riddled with uncertainty. Now Patel has used the topic of Brexit trade agreements as a topical soundbite to deliver her stress on ‘value for money’ for the ‘good, hardworking, British taxpayer’. But this is a time when it is more important than ever to look outward rather than in, to work with others, to help others, rather than simply act upon British vested interests.

International development is not currently devolved in Wales. However the National Assembly has asserted its desire to engage in international issues, one shining example of which is the Wales for Africa Programme, launched to work in line with the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. Now on the tenth anniversary of the programme, is an opportunity for the nation to celebrate Wales for Africa’s successes, but also look to the future to the work that can be done.

On the subject of the Wales for African Programme, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that the “people in Wales have big hearts. They belong in a small country but, oh man, they really have the kick of a mule!”. Now is the time to nurture our country’s commitment to international development and continue to empower those in poverty. Not for the sake of ‘strong footprints overseas’ but because it is simply the right thing to do.

Welsh party leaders answer WCIA questions on global issues: Q3 of 6 / Arweinwyr pleidiau Cymru yn ateb cwestiynau WCIA ar faterion byd-eang: C3 o 6



UKIP were invited to participate but did not submit responses to the questions by the deadline.

Q3. Despite international development not being a devolved issue, how important is it that Wales plays an active role in overseas aid? What measures should the new Assembly put in place to support this work?

Plaid Cymru

Disparities in wealth between the global north and south are growing, with wars and climate change leading to ongoing crises that the Welsh Assembly must play a part in solving. A Plaid Cymru Government will continue to press the UK Government to honour the commitment to delivering 0.7% of GDP as international aid. However, it is clear that the way aid is delivered currently is not effective enough, as many countries have seen people becoming poorer and growth stagnating, despite huge levels of international aid. This is why we have long campaigned for the cancellation of developing countries’ unaffordable debts, as developing countries are still struggling with unaffordable debts. Plaid Cymru has also supported the idea of a ‘Tobin Tax’ or a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ since the 1980s, the revenues of which could play a valuable role in promoting international development, and could contribute towards realising the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Welsh Liberal Democrats

We must also play our part in supporting those who live in poverty around the world. Billions of people live in unsanitary conditions, are malnourished, or are without a stable education. In Westminster, Liberal Democrats were responsible for ensuring the UK meets the UN target of pledging 0.7% of GDP towards foreign aid, and enshrined this in law. Wales should play our role in international development, building genuine partnerships with the developing world, involving marginalised groups in Wales, supporting cultural exchanges, and helping people out of poverty. We will cement Wales’ position as a globally responsible nation. We would double Welsh Government funding for International Development and ensure Wales’s international public procurement is socially just, focusing on products which support people in poverty (such as Fairtrade goods) and discouraging purchase of things which make poverty worse (such as conflict minerals or unsustainable timber).

Wales Green Party

Encouraging the twinning of Welsh communities and schools with those in the global South helps build relationships and understanding, and can help facilitate campaigning in solidarity with activists, community organisations and social movements in the global South. Ultimately, the best thing we can do to help those in the global South – rather than offering aid to deal with poverty – is to remove the structural barriers to their own development – namely challenge the power of large transnational corporations and reforming global trade.

Welsh Labour

We will continue to support the Wales for Africa programme as a sign of our continuing commitment to international development.

Welsh Conservatives

There are many measures that can be made to make our small country have a big impact overseas and we should do all we can to support others across the world to help end poverty.

A Welsh Conservative government will play its role and make its own contribution to addressing the millennium development goals and supporting other who are less fortunate across the globe. For example, we will continue the Wales for Africa programme. This innovative scheme brings together closer ties with Wales and developing Africa, promoting sustainable development, builds the capacity of NGOs and aid-coordination and supports the work of diaspora communities in Wales.

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Arweinwyr pleidiau Cymru

Rhoddwyd gwahoddiad i UKIP gymryd rhan ond ni dderbyniwyd ymatebion i’r cwestiynau erbyn y dyddiad cau.

C3. Er nad yw datblygiad rhyngwladol yn fater datganoledig, pa mor bwysig yw hi fod Cymru yn chwarae rhan weithredol mewn cymorth dramor? Pa fesurau a ddylai’r Cynulliad newydd eu rhoi ar waith i gefnogi’r gwaith hwn?

Plaid Cymru

Mae’r gwahaniaethau mewn cyfoeth rhwng gogledd a de’r byd yn tyfu, gyda rhyfeloedd a newid hinsawdd yn arwain at argyfyngau parhaus y mae’n rhaid i Lywodraeth Cymru chwarae ei ran mewn perthynas â’u datrys. Bydd Llywodraeth Plaid Cymru yn parhau i roi pwysau ar Lywodraeth y DU i barchu’r ymrwymiad o gyflawni 0.7% o GDP fel cymorth rhyngwladol. Fodd bynnag, mae’n glir nad yw’r ffordd mae cymorth yn cael ei gyflawni ar hyn o bryd yn ddigon effeithiol, gan fod nifer o wledydd wedi gweld pobl yn mynd yn dlotach a thwf yn rhewi, er gwaethaf lefelau anferth o gymorth rhyngwladol. Dyma pam ein bod wedi ymgyrchu am amser hir i ddileu dyledion anfforddiadwy gwledydd sy’n datblygu, gan fod gwledydd sy’n datblygu yn parhau i frwydro gyda dyledion anfforddiadwy. Mae Plaid Cymru hefyd wedi cefnogi’r syniad o ‘Dreth Tobin’ neu ‘Dreth Robin Hood’ ers yr 1980au. Gallai’r refeniw hyn chwarae rôl werthfawr o ran hyrwyddo datblygiad rhyngwladol, a gallai gyfrannu at wireddu Nodau Datblygu’r Mileniwm y DU.

Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru

Mae’n rhaid i ni hefyd chwarae ein rhan wrth gefnogi’r rhai sy’n byw mewn tlodi o amgylch y byd. Mae biliynau o bobl yn byw mewn amodau budr, yn dioddef o ddiffyg maeth, neu heb addysg sefydlog. Yn San Steffan, roedd y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol yn gyfrifol am sicrhau fod y DU yn diwallu targed yr UD o roi 0.7% o GDP tuag at gymorth tramor, a chynnwys hwn mewn cyfraith. Dylai Cymru chwarae ein rôl o ran datblygu ryngwladol, adeiladu partneriaethau diffuant yng Nghymru, cefnogi trafodaethau diwylliannol, a helpu pobl allan o dlodi. Byddwn yn cadarnhau safle Cymru fel cenedl gyfrifol yn fyd-eang. Byddem yn dyblu cyllid Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer Datblygiad Rhyngwladol ac yn sicrhau fod caffaeliad cyhoeddus rhyngwladol Cymru yn gymdeithasol gyfiawn, gan gefnogi pobl mewn tlodi (fel nwyddau Masnach Deg) a pheidio â chefnogi prynu pethau sy’n gwneud tlodi’n waeth (fel mwynau gwrthdaro neu bren anghynaladwy).

Plaid Werdd Cymru

Mae annog gefeillio cymunedau ac ysgolion Cymraeg gyda’r rhai yn y De byd-eang yn helpu i adeiladu perthnasau a dealltwriaeth, a gallai hwyluso ymgyrchu mewn undod gyda gweithredwyr, sefydliadau cymunedol a mudiadau cymdeithasol yn y De byd-eang. Yn y pen draw, y peth gorau y gallwn ei wneud i helpu’r rhai yn y De byd-eang – yn hytrach na chynnig cymorth i ddelio gyda thlodi – yw tynnu’r rhwystrau strwythurol i’w datblygiad ei hunain – yn bennaf herio pŵer  cydweithrediadau amlwladol mawr a diwygio masnach fyd-eang..

Llafur Cymru

Byddwn yn parhau i gefnogi’r rhaglen Cymru o blaid Affrica fel arwydd o’n hymrwymiad parhau i ddatblygiad rhyngwladol.

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig

Mae nifer o fesurau y gellir eu gwneud er mwyn gwneud i’n gwlad fach gael effaith fawr dramor a dylem wneud popeth y gallwn i gefnogi eraill ar draws y byd i’w helpu i roi terfyn ar dlodi.

Bydd llywodraeth Geidwadol Gymreig yn chwarae ei rôl ac yn gwneud ei chyfraniad ei hun wrth fynd i’r afael â nodau datblygu’r mileniwm a chefnogi eraill sydd yn llai ffodus ar draws y byd. Er enghraifft, bydd yn parhau i gefnogi’r rhaglen Cymru o blaid Affrica. Mae’r cynllun arloesol hwn yn dwyn cysylltiadau agosach ynghyd gyda Chymru ac Affrica sy’n datblygu, gan hyrwyddo datblygiad cynaliadwy, adeiladu capasiti Cyrff Anllywodraethol a helpu gyda chydlynu a chefnogi gwaith cymunedau gwasgaredig yng Nghymru.

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Development – A Two-way Initiative

How much of the world's development is owed to one side alone?

How much of the world’s development is owed to one side alone?

Despite the wide range of criticism facing it, the United Nations has a good reputation of being in the forefront of peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance activities. This fact is proven by the Nobel Peace Prize it was awarded in 2001 and its success in assisting more than 170 peace settlement negotiations that have ended regional conflicts around the world. Even now, the UN is currently working on sixteen peacekeeping projects in places such as Darfur, Lebanon and South Sudan. Continue reading