Department for International Development
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News Release issued by the Government News Network on 06 July 2009

Launching a new White Paper, Building our Common Future, Mr Alexander said the measures would bring help to the 50 million people worst hit by the global recession, keeping children in school, parents in jobs and the most vulnerable out of destitution.

The White Paper represents a fundamental shift in the way the UK delivers development aid, refocusing resources onto fragile countries and for the first time treating security and justice as a basic service alongside health, education, water and sanitation. Fifty per cent of new bilateral funding will be committed to fragile countries.

Key announcements in Building our Common Future include:

* A renewed commitment to 0.7 per cent of UK Gross National Income (GNI) for international development, meaning a contribution of £9bn per year by 2013;
* Measures to reduce maternal mortality rates and potentially save the lives of six million mothers and babies by 2015;
* Plans to support over eight million more children in Africa go to school;
* Doubling of funding to £1bn for African infrastructure including transport, energy and trade in the region;
* A tripling of funding to support developing countries to recover stolen assets, and new resources to Interpol, as part of a major effort to stamp out corruption;
* Increased investment in the Central Emergency Response Fund for humanitarian aid at the UN;

On fragile countries:

* Helping to ensure that security and justice are treated as a basic service – alongside health, education, water and sanitation – in the developing world with funding tripled to £120 m by 2014. This will include training police officers, setting up law courts and protecting women from violence;
* A focus on jobs in five of the most vulnerable countries - Yemen, Nepal, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Afghanistan – where 7.5 million people will benefit from jobs and economic opportunities;

On growth and trade:

* A quadrupling of funding to promote fair and ethical trade

* A new International Growth Centre to offer world class economic expertise and practical advice to poor countries;

On climate change:

* Renewed commitment to £800m to support climate adaptation, low carbon growth and protection of forests;
* The piloting of new low carbon innovation centres and a global climate change knowledge network.

Douglas Alexander said:

“We have made great strides over the past decade in tackling global poverty but there is much still to do.

“The economic downturn has had a devastating effect on the developing world, whilst millions live surrounded by conflict and violence. And we must face up to the havoc climate change could cause in the poorest countries.

“We will take action to save lives, put children in school and give mothers access to much-needed healthcare. But we will also support economic growth and tackle climate change – for many developing countries not a future threat but a current reality.

“Poverty and fragile countries go hand in hand. We cannot make the impact we need to unless we work in the most difficult environments.

“I am determined to help create stable societies where ordinary people can learn, train, work and prosper.

“This is not just in their interests but in our own – the economic crisis has highlighted as never before the interdependence of nations, rich and poor, across the world.”

There are currently 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty, of whom one-third live in countries affected by conflict and instability. The economic crisis will force a further 90 million people into poverty and could lead to 400,000 more children dying every year.

Douglas Alexander also set out his desire to see a “fair and equitable” deal from the Copenhagen climate change conference in December. Building our Common Future reaffirms the Government’s commitment to contribute to a $100bn fund to help developing countries tackle climate change which provides funding over and above existing aid commitments.

This is a key step on the path to Copenhagen.

Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said;

"To fight global poverty successfully we must also fight for an ambitious global climate deal at Copenhagen this December.

“The Prime Minister’s recent climate finance proposal puts the developing world at the centre of the global deal – ensuring that those poorest countries are given the help to deal with the consequences of climate change, but also help them grow in a low carbon way.”

Building our Common Future also marks the launch of a new UKaid logo which will be used during humanitarian operations to show UK citizens how development money is being spent.


Notes to Editors

Building our Common Future can be found on the DFID website at

UKaid is a new logo which will demonstrate how UK development work is improving the lives of the world's poorest people. UKaid will be used to highlight DFID's work, especially during our response to humanitarian emergencies.

DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the British government’s fight against world poverty. One in five people in the world today, over 1 billion people, live in poverty on less than one dollar a day.
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