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Green Liberal Democrat Motion to Lib Dem Spring Conference 2021

January 10, 2021 6:43 PM
Originally published by Green Liberal Democrats

voteLeading on international development

Green Liberal Democrat Motion to Lib Dem Spring Conference 2021

Conference condemns the Chancellor`s recent decision to cut International Aid by one third from
0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) as a backward step both morally and economically for the UK
and one that will reverse progress in the many countries receiving such aid, making it more difficult
for the poorest nations to meet climate change challenges.

Conference notes:

  • A. that the cut comes against the backdrop of a significant assault on international
    development by this Conservative Government with their flawed strategy of merging the
    Department for International Development into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  • B. that the 0.7% obligation was specifically designed to take account of any reduction or
    increase in the UK's wealth and the cut in the percentage of GNI therefore has a "double
    whammy effect" due both to targeting spending at a lower percentage of GNI and the
    likelihood of a lower GNI in the short to medium term as a consequence of the COVID-19
    pandemic and Brexit in combination.
  • C. that the pledge to spend 0.7% of GNI on International Aid was a longstanding Liberal
    Democrat manifesto commitment achieved during the coalition government and made into
    a legal obligation for subsequent government's by then Liberal Democrat MP Michael
    Moore's Private Member's Bill, which received Royal Assent as the International
    Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 on 26 March 2015.
  • D. that mitigation from, and adaptation to, Climate Change, while recovering from the
    consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, places enormous additional financial pressures
    on all countries, but particularly the poorest.

Conference recognises that:

  • 1. all countries face the same crushing combination: of the need for higher spending to fight
    the coronavirus pandemic and protect people; and of lower revenues due to the recession
    triggered by the containment measures needed.
  • 2. all countries also need to put measures in place urgently to combat climate change and
    biodiversity losses as twin existential threats to planet earth.
  • 3. governance in many poorer countries is severely hampered by high service costs of
    previously incurred international debts.

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat position that "… each generation is responsible for the
fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long-term
continuity of life in all its forms."

Conference therefore calls for the Government:

  • a) to reinstate immediately the requirement to meet its legal obligation to spend at least 0.7%
    of GNI on international aid
  • b) to `lock in` international development spending at the levels set in the March 2020 budget in
    the short to medium term in order to ensure we are not leaving the least developed
    countries behind at a time of intense economic challenge
  • c) to reverse immediately the flawed strategy of merging DFID into the FCO
  • d) to `lead from the front` on international aid, after reinstatement of the legal obligation, by
    lobbying our allies and partners to reach the 0.7% target

Conference further calls for:

  • I. a joint G20/IMF commitment to cancel debt payments for the world`s poorest countries
    together with a major restructuring of international debt-relief generally
  • II. a similar G20/IMF commitment to ensuring that the developing world is prepared to deal
    with the consequences of global warming and the consequent climate crisis.

Conference hereby recommits Liberal Democrats to our 2010 manifesto promise on Climate Change
to "… ensure that adaptation and mitigation measures should be financed by industrialised nations
on top of existing aid commitments."