Most powerfully on my visit, one young man I met, when asked what he wanted for the future, said two words. Peace and jobs. This underlined for me the crucial need for security, political change and long-term sustainable development to build peace and truly improve the lives of the people in this bottom billion.
Labour’s vision for development is clear and puts tackling inequality and promoting sustainability at the heart of any new framework. We want to build on the existing MDGs but also usher in a new era of co-development with common goals to which every country is committed.
My speech outlined the concept of a new “Social Contract without borders”, rooted in social justice, sustainable growth and good governance for all development actors. By 2030 our overarching aims should be to have eliminated absolute poverty, begun to reduce inequality, protected scarce planetary resources and ended aid dependency.
In the weeks and months ahead we will consult on the details, but our vision for a new “social contract without borders” will consist of no more than ten objectives which should be described through the prism of the citizen and communities in which they live. And to guarantee the desired focus on inequality the objectives should be supported by indicators measuring progress in relation to the bottom 20% in every country, the bottom billion globally, gender equality and quality of services not simply access i.e. student attainment not simply school attendance.
Continued support for aid is crucial to delivering the new framework but responsible and sustainable private sector growth supporting job creation and fairer trade rules, revenue raised through fair and efficient tax systems and good governance in developing countries, amongst donors and multinational companies will be the key to lasting change. We want to see a combination of responsible capitalism, state building including the introduction of a new international court to try and indict serious cases of corruption, empowered citizens and robust and disaggregated data to ensure that we are truly reaching the poorest 20%.
I also set out a radical reform agenda for the UK Department for International Development. Creating a new cross Whitehall approach to UK development policy, reducing barriers to entry for small and medium sized NGOs and private companies, ensuring DFIDs spending is focused on the poorest with an explicit priority objective of reducing inequality and putting women’s rights at the heart of the UK’s work in conflict and fragile states. I also want to introduce a new results framework which recognises the importance of long-term sustainable changes and ensure DfID country offices are more accountable to the communities they serve.
This speech should be seen as a contribution to the debate. We want to engage with stakeholders especially in the developing world and welcome the opportunity to consult on the content of this speech. Their experiences should be at the heart of shaping any new framework.
In the next 20 years we should judge the scale of our ambition and our commitment to real change primarily by whether we can change the life chances for the poorest everywhere, in every country, and those who are trapped in Collier's bottom billion mainly in conflict affected states.