Last week I raised in the House of Commons the work of Signal, the Shropshire based hearing loss charity who support people in Africa, as an example of British charitable endeavour making a real difference to many people in developing countries.
This government also provides aid and international development assistance around the world – helping to alleviate poverty, disease and the effects of natural disasters.
As part of the UK’s commitment to Agenda 2030, the UK has been reviewing its progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the Voluntary National Review. SDGs were adopted by 193 UN Member States, including the UK in Agenda 2030, and unlike the previous Millennium Development Goals, they apply to all countries.
The voluntary review has considered the programmes and policies that are contributing toward the goals, assess the progress made and provide an understanding of what still needs to be done. The results of this review will be submitted in a report to the UN tomorrow, and published shortly afterwards.
The review considers our work on Sustainable Development both at home and overseas. I have a small part to play in scrutinising the government’s efforts to meet environmental aspects of the SDGs through my work on the Environmental Audit Committee.
On Monday, Jeremy Hunt launched his campaign to become Conservative Party leader, making clear his view that Britain must regain its ability to walk tall in world, partly through increasing our defence capabilities to meet modern threats, but also being prepared to give assistance to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
The Foreign Secretary is someone who has walked the walk when it comes to promoting education and development overseas – as he helped set up an educational charity in Africa before he was first elected.
I share the view that any Conservative government should look to maintain international aid, while ensuring taxpayer money is spent as efficiently as possible. Brexit offers Britain the chance to rebuild our status as a global player – and shying away from the world’s problems and its most vulnerable people would send the wrong message to those who look to Britain for leadership on the biggest issues facing the world today.