VoteClimate: International Development - 18th June 2020

International Development - 18th June 2020

Here are the climate-related sections of speeches by MPs during the Commons debate International Development.

Full text: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-06-18/debates/E9FA015B-2A53-4346-BB22-60C64220FDBA/InternationalDevelopment

12:13 Rosie Winterton (Labour)

The third and final order on the African Development Bank is to amend an existing order and to permit the Government to provide an additional contribution of £66 million to support the African Development Fund’s participation in the multilateral debt relief initiative, which is very similar to the final order for a different institution. The multilateral debt relief initiative supports debt relief and enables countries to release resources, or to have released resources, to spend on poverty reduction and development that would otherwise be spent on unserviceable debt. The African Development Bank remains an important strategic partner across the board, particularly on climate change.

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12:25 Stephen Doughty (Labour)

On that note, can the Minister assure our partners in countries across Africa, and indeed across the developing world, including Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia, that we will continue to partner with them and their citizens, to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and continue our long-term work to tackle poverty, disease and inequality, tackle gender injustice and urgently deal with the climate change crisis?

Turning to the two specific institutions and the replenishments, the record of global Britain in action is reflected in a history of partnership with the African Development Bank, and we have contributed over many years to programmes and initiatives such as the African water facility, the Congo basin forest fund, the sustainable energy fund for Africa and, indeed, the actions on covid that I have just described in Ethiopia. The Minister spoke about the “high five” focus points of the African Development Bank—power Africa, integrate Africa, feed Africa, industrialise Africa and improve the quality of life in Africa—and I hope that he, in his remarks, can confirm that that will continue to be a UK priority for our role in those funds.

On the IDA part of the World Bank—a crucial institution, in which we have played a key role in over many decades—for every £1 of grant finance that the United Kingdom and other donors put in, IDA is expected to deliver more than £3 in development commitments for its clients, and we remain one of the largest donors—in fact, the largest donor in 2019. with an appropriate share of the budget. Can the Minister outline how we will seek to ensure that IDA programmes focus on issues like climate change, public health and education, and women and girls. Given some of the discussions that the Minister and I have had about fragile states, what focus will the new funding round have on investment in those? What performance-related measures will be taken in relation to the replenishment?

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12:56 Chris Grayling (Conservative)

I want to speak briefly on one of the key areas in which the African Development Bank operates. We have heard a lot from the Minister, from the Labour spokesman, the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), and from my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), a previous Secretary of State, about the important work being done to alleviate poverty, improve infrastructure and bring in water supplies. I want to talk about another aspect of the Bank’s work, particularly right now as we head towards a delayed COP summit and the conference on biodiversity next year: the need to stop and then start to reverse the process of deforestation in Africa. The African Development Bank is doing a lot of important work in this area. DFID is also doing a lot of important work, both with the Bank and elsewhere, but we must step up this activity for two reasons.

First, such activity can play a vital role in climate change. We know the impact that deforestation around the world has had on climate change. We tend to talk a lot about the Brazilian rainforest, but there has been a much greater degree of deforestation on the African continent. There is the potential over the next 10 years for that to continue and to get much worse. For example, in the Congo basin there has already been a significant loss of forest cover. It is a politically unstable area and it has not been commercially exploited in the way that some other parts of Africa have been. We cannot afford to see those huge rainforests disappear. We must also start to recreate some of the forestation that has been lost.

I urge the Minister to put absolutely at the heart of what this Government do in the coming years the support that is so desperately needed for the recreation of what were once fertile, forested areas and are now areas of arid landscape. We should do everything we can to put money into supporting the existing forestation in those parts of Africa where we cannot afford to lose it and where we, in doing so, play a central part in what is going to be necessary in the fight against climate change.

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13:01 Wendy Chamberlain (Liberal Democrat)

I welcome the opportunity to debate these statutory instruments regarding the ADB and IDA. This is clearly a timely moment to discuss how the UK gives its aid, how much it gives and in what form. We should note that this week’s announcement has been described as a big, big blow for Africa by one African Minister. The funds the Government intend to release to the ADB will, via the African Development Fund, help the poorest countries in Africa. The general capital increase will improve the bank’s lending capacity, allowing it to have an even greater impact. We should laud the fact that the fund’s replenishment is estimated to create more than 1 million jobs. I also wish to pay a particular tribute to the leading work the fund is doing to promote clean energy and green growth, not only improving lives, but doing so in a sustainable way. It is good that further commitments have been secured from the bank towards climate finance over the next five years. Of course, that is totally in line with our commitments to help to achieve the sustainable development goals, too.

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13:12 James Duddridge (Conservative)

My right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield raised the issue of trust funds. We have very few trust funds at the African Development Bank, but we are supporting initiatives on sustainable energy, climate risk finance and women’s economic empowerment and very much welcome a discussion around how we can use trust funds more effectively through that fund. Having lived in Abidjan as a 20 year-old, I am keen to get back there and talk to him more— [Interruption.] He is looking shocked. I am not sure whether that is because I was once young, or that I was once in Abidjan. Perhaps it is both. I was aware of the African Development Bank back in my time at Barclays in Abidjan and I look forward to getting back as alternate governor. I was asked who would be representing the bank. I suspect, given the changes, that as deputy governor or alternate governor, I will be spending a bit more time with all the regional development banks. Even prior to the changes, I was going to be the primary person dealing with the African Development Bank.

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