Justine Greening should reaffirm the UK’s commitment to a New Deal for the world’s poorest

In order to continue to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, Justine Greening should reaffirm the UK's commitment to the New Deal and its support for the integration of the New Deal into the post-MDG agenda when she goes to the International Dialogue event on Friday.

According to the OECD, aid from rich countries is falling and the poorest countries in particular are losing out as aid is transferred to middle-income countries such as China and India.

This has occurred at a time when the world’s poor are increasingly concentrated in fragile states: it is estimated that by 2015, half of the world’s inhabitants living on less than $1.25 a day will be in such states.

In fact, one-and-a-half billion of the poorest people in the world live in areas affected by state fragility, conflict, or large-scale organized criminal violence, and no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has achieved a single UN Millennium Development Goal (UN MDG).

Moreover, globally, state fragility causes some of the most intractable world problems for the international community.

With the post-2015 UN development agenda currently being re-formulated before the current Millennium Development Goals expire, this failure to support fragile states and their impoverished populations must be rectified.

On Friday April 19, Justine Greening, secretary of state for international development, will attend a meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Washington, which will include representatives of the OECD, World Bank, UN, IMF and others.

The International Dialogue is the first forum to bring together the G7 Plus grouping of conflict-affected and fragile countries, their international partners and civil society, to catalyse successful transitions from conflict and fragility.

In November 2011 the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding developed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, a breakthrough agreement between the G7 Plus and international partners to change the policy and practice of engagement. The New Deal has become a key reference on how to work effectively in countries affected by conflict, fragility and violence and is endorsed by over 44 countries and multilateral partners.

The New Deal offers a new approach to the failed policies of the past in three key ways:

  • It directly targets the majority of the world’s poor who live in fragile states by recognising that peace is connected to development, and that peacebuilding and statebuilding goals should be the foundation for progress toward the Millenium Development Goals and beyond.
  • It prioritises the leadership of fragile states in peacebuilding and statebuilding efforts, enabling aid recipients to set their own development objectives based upon their own assessments of the causes and features of their fragility.
  • It uses state institutions and country systems to achieve development objectives in a transparent manner, thereby simultaneously using aid to develop the state and lift citizens out of poverty.

The Department for International Development has set out to build on the New Deal, and has, for example, agreed to help Afghanistan implement the New Deal at the request of the Afghan Government.

In order to continue to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, Justine Greening should reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the New Deal and its support for the integration of the New Deal into the post-MDG agenda when she goes to the International Dialogue event on Friday.

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