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Liberal Democrats

F4: Reducing Poverty and Discrimination

This motion updates and develops existing policy on international development as set out in policy paper 97, Accountability to the Poor (2010). In particular, it creates new policy on eliminating TB, HIV and malaria, treating tax evasion as a development issue and integrating environmental sustainability with economic development.

(Passed with Amendment 1)

Conference believes that:

A. It is unacceptable that anyone, anywhere in the world, should live in absolute poverty in the twenty-first century.

B. A world in which there is deep-seated poverty and injustice is a more dangerous place.

C. Absolute poverty can and must be eliminated by 2030, through ambitious and concerted international efforts.

D. Such ambition is both morally right and in the national interest.

E. Principles of transparency and accountability must underpin all international development activities, to enable people to pursue their own paths from poverty to prosperity.

Conference notes that:

i) Significant progress has been made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals since 2000, in particular halving the proportion of people living in absolute poverty globally.

ii) Helping to build prosperity abroad also helps to create British jobs and provide markets for British exports.

iii) In an increasingly globalised world, challenges such as climate change, pollution and disease affect developed and developing countries alike, requiring a coordinated approach.

iv) Policies on issues such as trade, transparency, climate change, agricultural subsidies and arms sales can impact partner countries as much as - or more than - the provision of official development assistance (ODA).

v) NGO and private sector partnerships add great value alongside aid; both by helping to develop capacity in low-income and middle-income countries, and by increasing public understanding of and support for international development in the UK.

vi) There is potential for wider and deeper international networks across civil society.

vii) The impacts of global threats are exacerbated by poverty and inequality.

vii) Eliminating absolute poverty requires specific action to address the needs of groups facing social, political or economic discrimination, in order to ensure that no-one is left behind.

ix) Extreme discrimination and violence, such as Female Genital Mutilation, need to be addressed not only in the developing world but everywhere, including in the UK.

x) According to International Labour Organisation estimates there are 21 million people who are the victims of forced labour across and the world.

Conference welcomes:

a) The Coalition Government's achievement in becoming the first G8 country to meet its commitment to provide 0.7% of gross national income in ODA, despite challenging economic circumstances.

b) Liberal Democrat Michael Moore's Private Member's Bill to enshrine this commitment in law.

c) Government efforts to increase the transparency of financial flows to developing countries, including the activities of the extractive industries as well as aid.

d) The efforts of Lynne Featherstone MP and other Liberal Democrats in government to address Female Genital Mutilation, and to increase global recognition of its importance, after it had been overlooked for decades.

Conference urges Liberal Democrats in government to:

1. Commit to elimination of absolute poverty by 2030, guided by the principle of leaving no-one behind.

2. Provide support to people in developing countries that enables everyone to participate fully in economic, political and social life and have a say in decisions that affect them.

3. Focus on reducing discrimination against the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society; particularly on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, disability or ethnicity.

4. Develop an International Gender Equality Strategy, including recognition of women's right to education and freedom from enforced marriage.

5. Deliver on our commitment to ending Female Genital Mutilation within a generation.

6. Support an International LGBT Strategy, including a guaranteed right not to be discriminated against.

7. Ensure that issues of environment and sustainability are fully integrated with issues of economic development and equity in the post-2015 Goals.

8. Commit a significant proportion of aid to meeting global challenges such as Climate Change and pollution.

9. Commit to eliminating TB, HIV and malaria - which disproportionately affect poor people - within a generation.

10. Develop a 'whole of Government' approach to international development, ensuring that policies of Ministries other than the Department for International Development support global efforts to reduce absolute poverty.

11. Support the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill and work to incorporate its recommendations on addressing slavery in the supply chain.

11. Lead international action to ensure that multinational companies pay fair taxes in the developing countries in which they operate, by proposing global tax standards that would eliminate tax evasion practices 'including abuses of transfer pricing and intra-group lending.

12. Begin work to develop a new civil society partnership scheme, supported by Government, that will encourage new sorts of partnership; such as municipality to municipality, trades union to trades union, and emergency service to emergency service.

13. Encourage and support the Fairtrade movement in promoting 'aid through trade' to ensure that farmers and workers in the developing world receive a fair and stable price for their products, and also to encourage the use of Fairtrade products wherever possible throughout the Parliamentary estate.

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