International Development - Minutes of EvidenceHC 657

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the International Development Committee

on Tuesday 20 November 2012

Members present:

Sir Malcolm Bruce (Chair)

Fiona Bruce

Pauline Latham

Jeremy Lefroy

Fiona O’Donnell


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for International Development, and Michael Anderson, Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on the UN Development Goals, gave evidence.

Q96 Chair: Thank you very much indeed for coming in again. I will not ask you to introduce yourselves, but I will say for the record that this is the final evidence session on the post2015 development goals, with the Secretary of State and Michael Anderson in his capacity as Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on the Development Goals. That is the context. I appreciate that you had a Cabinet meeting this morning. I think you will appreciate that with the new sitting hours of the House, there is a clash with business in the House, which means you do not have as good attendance in this Committee as you normally would. It is not a discourtesy; it is just a clash.

Justine Greening: I understand.

Q97 Chair: I wondered, just to set the context, whether you could say how you see the value and indeed the purpose of having a new set of goals post2015. Obviously you have been confronted with this as an ongoing process, but what do you think on a personal basis is the value of having an updated set of goals?

Justine Greening: If you look at what we have been able to achieve by having the first set of Millennium Development Goals, they have achieved a number of things. First of all, they have achieved an unprecedented degree of political consensus around the world on tackling global poverty and focusing people’s minds on doing that. Secondly, the focus has meant that we have accelerated progress, particularly on poverty alleviation. I think there is a lot more left to do, but as we look ahead to the post2015 development goals, the key challenges are, in a sense, to understand what it will take to finish off the job in these final few years and beyond, to the extent that we need to, but then also to ensure that this new set of challenges and goals reflect the world as it is now and will be over the next 15 years, and are actionable.

There is clearly a lot of work to be done between now and 2015. We have processes in place, not least the Highlevel Panel that the Prime Minister is involved in, which are hopefully the right processes to get us through to some appropriate, powerful and actionable development goals post2015.

Q98 Chair: We have not obviously achieved the MDGs and are unlikely to achieve them by 2015. The argument is that we need to finish the job, as you put it, but presumably we also need to refresh the priorities.

Justine Greening: Yes. We have three years left. We can see that there are some Millennium Development Goals that have been achieved, some that we think are on track, and others where we have not made as much progress, and I think that is the discussion we need. We need a twofold discussion, firstly to the extent that there are goals left to meet, carrying them forward, and debating how we do that, and secondly being clear on what we feel are additional areas and goals for this new framework that need to be in place.

Q99 Chair: The Highlevel Panel, as you rightly say, which includes our Prime Minister and the Presidents of Liberia and Indonesia, met in London recently. What were the outcomes of that meeting in London?

Justine Greening: That was actually the second meeting.

Q100 Chair: Yes, I appreciate that the first meeting was kind of an introductory meeting, but this was the first time it was a lengthy meeting.

Justine Greening: It is interesting. The first meeting, I think, was around understanding what sort of a narrative the High Level Panel would come out with. The decision was that it would be povertyfocused but also evidencebased, and critically that it would be something that was actionable but also accountable. That would be a key strand of it. The second meeting in London lasted over three days, and it achieved a number of things. First of all it was an opportunity for the Panel to meet over a period of time, whereas the UN General Assembly meeting was clearly a shorter meeting. It was the first time the Panel really got to work together as a team.

The first day allowed them to be briefed by experts on a range of development issues that are relevant to the next lot of development goals. On the second day the Panel was able to have a substantive meeting and to, in a sense, set out its work plan and the sorts of questions it will need to answer as a group if it is to come up with some good conclusions and recommendations. On the third day the main objective was outreach: to civil society, to business and indeed to young people, about what the consideration of the Panel should be on other people’s views as well as their own.

Q101 Chair: I suppose the question is: how successful was that in terms of gaining useful information, and how will the meetings proceed from there? For example, have the Panel decided what each meeting is designed to do and what the agenda will be? Are you able to tell us now, or will you be able to tell us later, what the agenda will be for each meeting?

Justine Greening: The meeting in London I think was very successful, and the Panel members felt that they achieved an awful lot in terms of the briefings they had, but also in terms of being able to hear directly from one another and from external stakeholders. The next meeting will be held in the New Year in Monrovia: obviously President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is one of the co-chairs alongside our own Prime Minister. That will discuss national development. The third series of meetings is likely to be in March, in Bali in Indonesia, and that will primarily focus on global partnerships. There is quite a structured process to then have the Highlevel Panel go through in order that it can then come up with a series of recommendations to feed through to the SecretaryGeneral.

Q102 Chair: I suppose the best comparison we have had for this kind of event was the Commission for Africa. That had a much longer timescale to operate, and a larger secretariat, so how do you think this process compares? Is the fact that it is a shorter timescale and a smaller secretariat a problem?

Justine Greening: I do not think it needs to be, but it does mean that there needs to be some pace and momentum and structure to the work plan, in order that we can achieve what we would like to see the High Level Panel achieve. I think there is that momentum there. There is a clear drive amongst the Panel members to produce a highquality Report with recommendations, and I think the terms of reference clearly set out what the Panel is there to do. You are right that it is a short timeframe. I also suspect, though, that however long we had had for the High Level Panel, there would have been an argument, and there could have been an argument, to take longer. The benefit of the Panel is that it is an early piece of work that can feed in to a more general deliberation at the UN about what the next series of development goals should be.

Q103 Chair: My final point-and Mr Anderson might have something to say about this-is how the UK Government works, given that it is co-ordinated between your own Department, DFID, and the Cabinet Office, and also how the three coChairs work with each other, given that they are literally scattered around the globe.

Michael Anderson: In terms of the UK Government’s working, there is a crossWhitehall committee, which involves not only DFID and DEFRA but also the Foreign Office and DECC; Treasury is invited and there are Cabinet Office representatives. I chair that committee of senior officials, and there is constant checking to ensure that the departments are joined up. This is unusual. There has emerged around the world a separation between environment ministries leading on the Sustainable Development Goals, and foreign ministries leading on the followon to the MDGs. We think that ultimately there will have to be one set of goals, so it makes sense to join up now, and we have been encouraging other governments to do that.

In terms of the coChairs working, we have regular meetings and a regular email exchange. After the last London meeting, we spent most of the Saturday meeting together and planning out what we will be doing next, the topics to prioritise and how to take things forward. There is regular communication between the cochairs.

Q104 Chair: Is there somebody who is your equivalent in the office of each of the other heads of government?

Michael Anderson: Yes, yes.

Q105 Jeremy Lefroy: Leading on from what Mr Anderson was saying, there has obviously been a lot of discussion about whether the postRio process should be separate from the post2015 MDG process. You have indicated there that the Government’s position is that they should be integrated. Why?

Justine Greening: If we want to make a difference on the ground, we want to have one set of development goals. The process of making sure it is one set of development goals is quite an important one, because it enables us to discuss what the priorities need to be, and there are different groups of countries pulling in different directions. You have the African countries, who are possibly more focused on the continued push on poverty eradication. That is certainly something this Government thinks is incredibly important. Then there are other countries for whom the sustainable development aspect of this agenda is something they believe is absolutely critical to be able to then go on and achieve long-term successful poverty eradication.

I do not believe it has to be an either/or. I think the first set of Millennium Development Goals had one that was focused on the environment. The key to success is how we can fuse those two pieces of work together successfully. What I do not think would be sensible would be to end up with two competing frameworks, because the danger would be that you would make progress on neither. However, it is no doubt one of the discussions or debates that will happen over the coming two years.

Q106 Jeremy Lefroy: Do you think that means there should be a single sustainability goal within the framework, or that sustainability should be incorporated into each individual goal?

Justine Greening: It has to be a central plank of the post2015 framework. That could take the form of an individual single goal, or, yes, it could see the UN look at how you can have sustainability running as a thread through the other goals. Those are the debates, whether you are on the High-level Panel or the Rio+20 process, that people are having now. I am not going to prejudge where we will end up on them, because there is quite a long way to go. However, they are important debates, and getting the balance right between having goals that everyone can buy into, and that are critically actionable, is what we are looking for at the end of the day.

Q107 Jeremy Lefroy: How would you counter the fears that some have expressed that somehow this will dilute the emphasis on tackling poverty?

Justine Greening: I think they go hand in hand at the end of the day. We want to see a continued push towards eradicating extreme poverty, but similarly, we cannot do that if we do not do it in a sustainable way. When the Panel met, one of the discussions they had was around this growing consensus that continuing to end extreme poverty in our time was a key part of what the Panel was interested in, but to do it in a way that sat alongside sustained growth. One of the things we have learned in the last 15 years is that it is economic growth that can pull people out of poverty in a sustained fashion, but that growth has to be happening in a sustainable way itself, which is why the postRio process is really important.

Q108 Jeremy Lefroy: Would you not therefore see some problems coming down the road? For instance, for sustained economic growth, there is no doubt that having increased and reliable power supplies is absolutely vital, and yet in order to do so, most of the time probably the cheapest way to get it done in a developing country is one which might perhaps be considered not sustainable, for instance using coalfired power stations. We have seen the conflict over whether the IMF supports the development of such facilities in the past. Do you not think that will mean this kind of conflict will come even more to the fore?

Justine Greening: It will be one of the debates that people have. You set out very clearly a debate that happens in developing countries but also happens in our own country. It is the debate about how we can have affordable energy for households and for business, and at the same time transition to energy sources that are sustainable in the future, because we know that if we do not do that, we will be paying even more for our energy. There are no easy answers to that question. It is one of the debates that will happen over the next two years, and we need to try to find some sort of overall approach to it that everybody can hopefully buy into. I think different countries will have different places where they emphasise their interests, and that is completely understandable, because many of them are facing different challenges in relation to the sustainability agenda.

Q109 Jeremy Lefroy: Thank you. Finally, the Rio+20 outcome document states that an Open Working Group of 30 members is to be set up. Could you perhaps give us some news on the progress of that? We understand that there has been a little delay.

Justine Greening: You can jump in there, Michael.

Michael Anderson: The target for setting that up was to be by September-by the UNGA meeting. A bit of context: the UN General Assembly is working through for itself how it tackles big, complicated problems when it cannot have everyone involved. It is using this process to try to work that through. At the moment there is a proposal being circulated for agreement. We have not yet nailed down the 30 members. There will almost certainly be, for some of the regional groupings, a constituency system for some of those chairs, but it is still a work in progress. The Brazilians are co-ordinating that and trying to put it in place. I would have expected an answer sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Q110 Jeremy Lefroy: You do not see that as a hindrance to progress?

Michael Anderson: It is certainly a parallel process. One of the tasks for the High Level Panel work is to stay in constant discussion with that group, to make sure that there are no surprises. The real task here is to build a consensus towards what a solution might be like in 2015, and that group will be a critical part of the consensus. In September 2013 we are likely to see the General Assembly reviewing these processes and taking a view as to whether it has the right structures in place or not. They may go ahead with the Open Working Group, or they may go for something else.

Q111 Pauline Latham: The success of the Millennium Development Goals was that they were simple, memorable and measurable. There is a risk now that the new framework becomes a long wish list that fails to fulfil any of those three criteria. How do you see the Prime Minister preventing this?

Justine Greening: We broadly share that analysis of the original goals, and why they have been, in many respects, incredibly effective. We want to take those learnings about the fact that they were goals that could be actioned, and then feed those in to the next set of development goals. We should also be clear, however, that they were not perfect. There will be some people who say that they ended up being applied differently by different countries, and that they were applied across the board in some areas and not in others in a way that was not intended. Some will say that some countries met some of the targets, but not for everybody in their country, just for some people. On the other hand, they saw the target achieved, which suggested that there was a problem that was fixed when actually it was not.

There were a lot of criteria, if you like, for the original set of MDGs that were great. You have set them out in a really succinct way. However, I think we also want to look at where some of the shortcomings were. For example, there is always a desire to gravitate towards things that you can measure, but when you look at the MDG on education, one of the issues that came out of looking at progress on that was quality of education, and children finishing school, not just being enrolled. It is those sorts of questions that we all have on the table to answer: "How do you achieve this balance between a set of goals that is measurable, actionable, and towards which people can really work in a structured way, while not forgetting that some things are slightly less easy to measure but still really, really matter?"

Q112 Pauline Latham: You use the example of education. It is interesting because even, say, in a country where there is universal primary education, you have to look at where they are being educated, the quality of the education, and what the results at the end of it will be. You are quite right; it is much more complicated than writing down a goal on paper-which sounds great, and has changed things, but probably in some places not enough.

Justine Greening: Your other point is that one of the things the High-level Panel needs to try to do is prioritise. You could end up with a very long list, and it is tempting to do so, but the danger is that you will see efforts dispersed over too broad an area. As challenging as it will be, one of the things the Panel can do is try to put some life into the debate about where the priorities are and where we see some of the sustainability agenda fitting into this, and how things like gender matter, for example. They are really important, but I think that is one of the things the Panel can bring to this process.

Q113 Pauline Latham: Obviously we know that the life of a government, not just here but around the world, can be quite short-I hope not in our case at the moment, but sometimes governments cannot look too far ahead. If the post2015 framework has, say, a 25year timescale, do you think there is a risk governments will ignore it? Do you think there should be interim targets maybe every five years, which would fit in better if governments are likely to change over the time? Or do you think that 25 years is a way of making governments focus and try to work no matter what party is in power? I have to say that happens here, but it will not happen everywhere. There is not much between the political parties here on the will to move forward.

Justine Greening: The debate on the timeline is a really important one. If it is too long, then it becomes something that people never really quite feel they are going to be held accountable for. If it is too short, it misses the fact that development does not happen overnight and is innately quite a longterm process. Certainly listening to the civil society panel session that I sat in, which was the very last session on day three of the London meeting, there seemed to be a general sense that probably another period of 15 years might be appropriate. That might fit more with the political cycles that governments have, as you say, but certainly the UK is openminded to having a discussion about what the right timeframe is.

Q114 Pauline Latham: Thank you. What about interim targets? Do you think that is a good idea?

Justine Greening: I think we should look where we can at whether, for some of the MDGs, interim targets will be a helpful way of telling us whether we are on track or off track. Whenever you do this, you need to be clear about whether you can collect data, and how burdensome that will be on all the countries concerned, but this underlying point is that we need to be checking progress. Even if you go for 15 years, it is a long time, and you need to be checking progress in the meantime. The sense is that somehow that has to be part of what we end up with. "How do we check on the way?" is quite an important question, but it needs to be done in a proportionate manner.

Q115 Pauline Latham: Yes. Once Member States reach agreement on the goals, who do you think will be tasked with developing the underlying targets? Do you think DFID will have a role in this? Which other organisations might be involved?

Justine Greening: I will allow Michael to come in on this question as well.

Pauline Latham: It is key.

Justine Greening: Our sense is that ultimately this is a UNled process, and the High-level Panel that the PM is cochairing will feed in to that process at a pretty early stage in many respects. Following on from that there will be a lot of technical work and political discussion around what those overarching goals might be, but then what individual aims we might have within the goals and the form they could take. I expect that to be predominantly led by the UN, but ultimately of course the UK and DFID will want to play a key role in that. We are recognised across the world as having a leadership role on this agenda, and we will certainly want to bring our experience into that process.

Michael Anderson: That is right. I would add that the UN specialised agencies will want to play a role and will have a view. One thing that is very important for the UK is that a lot of the other countries, and even specialised agencies, look to some UK institutions-ODI, International Institute for Environment and Development, IDS. They are seen as intellectual powerhouses in this area. I think the UK will play an important role not only through the Government but through a range of the think tanks that we have.

Q116 Fiona O’Donnell: Good morning, Secretary of State. Some of the MDGs were relative, and that was the case in terms of income poverty, which was supposed to halve. This has meant that the poorest and most marginalised have been left behind. The Prime Minister has said he wants to see a goal of zero absolute poverty. Do you think that can be agreed?

Justine Greening: It all comes down to language, in a way, but we have made a lot of progress over the last 15 years. It may be that we are the first generation or group of political leaders that can say, "We want to eradicate extreme poverty over a particular time period." That would be an incredibly powerful goal to have, and one of the powers of the MDGs we have is that they were ones that people could understand across the world. They were very, very clear. Having a continued clarity of our goals, so that people can understand exactly what they mean and why they matter, is quite important. It would be powerful if we could say that.

Can we get agreement for it? We will have to wait and see, but to my mind the Panel meeting that we had a couple of weeks ago showed some emerging consensus that people do think eradicating poverty should be the fundamental aim of what we want the next set of development goals to do, so that we do not leave people behind and so that we are looking at what the minimum standards we think people should be able to expect should be.

Q117 Fiona O’Donnell: Some of the people who are most at risk of being left behind are the third of the world’s poor who live in fragile states. What other areas do you think the new framework needs to address to ensure that poverty reduction or eradication is effective in those fragile states?

Justine Greening: It may mean that we need to look at whether there are some additional elements of any development framework that focuses on conflict, and there is this aspect of development that the Prime Minister has called the "Golden Thread", where we talk about rule of law, human rights and the role of conflict and violence, which we know is one of the things that holds back development. There may be an element of the new development framework that needs to reflect some of those things too, and going back to the fact that we want the new set of development goals to be measurable and actionable, there may be some aspects of it that are harder to measure. That may well be one part of it. Does it mean that we should not recognise that it is probably a precursor for successful longterm development? It is, and therefore we may well want to see whether we can have some inclusion of that in a framework going forward.

Q118 Fiona O’Donnell: As you said, there are lessons to be learned from the MDG for primary education. In setting targets for secondary education, do you think we should be going for universal, again, or do you think that is unlikely to be achieved and we should be more realistic?

Justine Greening: The MDG we had on primary education was incredibly powerful. As we have all recognised, it had some shortcomings in terms of what it specifically measured, but I think if you are going to have a long-term impact on people and their education, then that does need to follow through. In a sense, for those people we have seen going through the primary education system, we need to make sure that there is a secondary school system for them to go into, particularly for girls. We know that if girls go on to secondary education, they are likely to get married later, start a family later, have a better chance of having a job, and fundamentally their life prospects on a whole range of indicators improve.

Those are precisely the discussions that the Panel was having last week, and I think they are really important in terms of, in a sense, conveying a sense of continuity. We had the first set of development goals, and people need to see how they feed in to the next set. That is probably not a bad example of where you could show that continuity working well, and where I believe it is particularly important if we are to make progress on the women and girls agenda anyway.

Q119 Fiona O’Donnell: I was pleased to hear you saying that the Panel had reached out to young people. I wonder, across the whole range of issues that the new framework will address, how you see the voices of children and young people being heard in that process.

Justine Greening: Interestingly, quite a big part of what the UN wants to do, and indeed the High Level Panel, and I think just generally, is to reach out to a whole load of people, whether that is reaching out to people who are in poverty and asking them what they think the priorities should be, or also including young people. One of the ways that is happening is that there are a number of internetbased consultations going on at the moment. As you saw in London, when we had the chance to host our bit of the High Level Panel, we took the opportunity to particularly reach out to young people. I had a chance to talk to young people who had come from all over the world to be part of that and to have their say. It was a fantastic experience to see this next generation of people being involved. Ultimately we are trying to do our best to build a better world for them, which is why it is so important that they are involved, and as the Panel itself continues its work, hopefully that process of involving and engaging young people will continue. I think it needs to continue happening at a UN level too.

Q120 Chair: On that point, if the worthy objective is to make poverty history in a very literal sense, is a 15year timescale realistic to achieve that? As a supplementary to that, we discussed this last week, but given that half the people in poverty are living in middleincome countries, will the UK have a clear strategy as to how we engage with those countries in a way that will still help to deliver that objective?

Justine Greening: On your first point, that is a debate to be had: how do we have a target that is achievable but one that feels like we are reaching an end point that we want to see-the eradication of extreme poverty? In terms of your point that the evidence base shows that increasingly many of those people in extreme poverty are living in countries that are developing and have got to the stage where they are middleincome countries, that is something I have asked my Department to look at. I think it is symptomatic of how the development agenda is changing, and therefore how departments and organisations like DFID need themselves to continue to change in order to keep up with that.

There is no doubt that the key to this in my mind is ensuring that we broaden out our discussion from one that perhaps was more traditionally around aid co-operation to one that is broader than that and is around development co-operation. That does not just include the traditional aid programmes we might be doing with countries, but it more broadly says, "What is the rest of the agenda, particularly economic growth, that we can help you pursue, which we know will then get some of those people who to date have not seen progress out of extreme poverty?"

Inevitably when any country is developing, it will happen in parts of the country first rather than other places. It is possibly to be expected, but I think you are right that we as a Department need to be clear about how we continue to work with those middleincome countries, to influence them and help them reach out, and to make sure that people are not left behind.

Q121 Chair: I think you will find that will be a significant part of the debate between us and your Department over the next year or two. Very specifically, however-and it is relevant to that-the Prime Minister, before he became Prime Minister, talked about his "Golden Thread", focusing on the importance of governance for delivery. I have to say that even the last week, where we have had the situation in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC and then an ICAI Report on Nigeria, tells you how difficult these issues are. If I am frank with you, the only people in evidence who have referred to the "Golden Thread" have been your own Department and the Overseas Development Institute. Nobody else has mentioned it. Is it something that is likely to be a feature of the Prime Minister’s engagement on the High-level Panel? I do not know whether that is one for you or Mr Anderson.

Justine Greening: I think there is broader international support for this Golden Thread concept. Maybe other countries may term it slightly differently, but the Panel did discuss these critical elements or building blocks that we think are important for development-whether it is the rule of law, women’s and minorities’ rights, having a free media, or good governance. There is general buyin for that Golden Thread agenda, and I think that you will see the Panel look at how we can potentially weave that into our recommendations.

If I had to sum it all up, I think there is a sense that the first set of MDGs were brilliant at focusing attention on, if you like, the end point of poverty and the symptoms. What we needed to do was see whether we could fuse into the new development goals more of the tackling of the root causes of poverty, and often that is around the lack of good institutions, and some of these issues I have talked about around the Golden Thread.

Q122 Chair: Development ministries, development agencies and NGOs are very focused on talking about governance, but defining and measuring it is something else. Is that a degree of a problem, and indeed is it not the case that in some cases, governance may be questionable but outcomes are quite good? Are we talking about democracy or are we talking about effective delivery? Governments in Vietnam, in a oneparty state, have certainly reduced poverty, as has been the case with Rwanda, but they have not necessarily delivered other aspects of government that people might value. How do you measure them, and indeed how do you capture public imagination when you are talking in those terms?

Justine Greening: That is one of the questions many people will be debating over the next two years. There is a question about whether you have an element of the new development framework that talks about people having the right of access to law and justice, etc. Your point about how you measure progress is a perfectly valid one. This is why this is a complex agenda. Obviously different countries have their Government and their institutions in different places. You look at the case of Somalia: a new Cabinet has just been announced; their Speaker is literally developing how their Parliament can work going forward. It is in a different place from some of the other countries that we work with. Above all, what we would want to see is progress in the right direction, although I believe there is a general consensus that that statebuilding side of the development agenda is quite an important one if you are to see long-term poverty alleviation goals being met.

Q123 Jeremy Lefroy: If I may, very quickly, I think the Golden Thread is an excellent way of looking at this. The one thing that strikes me that is missing from it is jobs and work, which is what I hear time and time again-in this country, but in any country, and particularly, obviously, from young people, who are most likely to not have jobs or paid work. How would you see a stress on jobs and work and the importance of that coming into the post2015 MDGs?

Justine Greening: It could be one of the new elements of a post2015 development framework. It is a really good example of going back to asking people on the ground what they want. They will say they want a job, and it is because they want to have some personal independence for themselves and their family. What it shows is that we want to move towards tackling and getting rid of extreme poverty, but we do that through sustained growth and prosperity in the countries we are trying to help. You are then left with a question about how you generate sustained growth and prosperity. That is the nature of the development debate we are in.

I would also say that perhaps the words we use are of interest. "Job" implies you have been given a job by somebody else; for a lot of people in developing countries it is about employment, and that may be something that they generate for themselves. But the point you make is absolutely right; it is about people having some form of paid employment, whether it is their own job or whether it is one they have because the economy around them is growing and there are companies they can work for.

Jeremy Lefroy: Thank you.

Justine Greening: Michael, would you like to add to that?

Michael Anderson: On the Golden Thread, for many African countries, part of the criticism of the first set of MDGs was that there were not enough enablers for growth, and that is what they want. There is a very big push on this, and certainly at the High Level Panel there was a lot of discussion of the enablers, which is identical to the Golden Thread. The one thing I would point out is that the existing MDGs’ target 1(b) is "to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people". One of the points the Prime Minister has made is that goal has probably not captured the collective imagination. Part of the task is to get the goals right, but also to get a narrative so that the world mobilises around that with the same passion that they mobilise around maternal mortality and infant mortality.

Q124 Fiona Bruce: You touched on human rights. I wonder whether you could comment on whether the inclusion of specific human rights issues, such as political participation or freedom of speech, might jeopardise chances of agreement on the post2015 framework, or whether you think it is now politically feasible.

Justine Greening: I think it will be difficult. Certainly the UK would like to support this whole agenda of human rights, and we have been very clear-cut about that. We would also like to see whether it can be incorporated into a 2015 agenda, but there is no doubt that for other countries that will be a challenging discussion to have, and for some other countries there may be some aspects of this that are simply a red line that they are not willing to go beyond. That is the process that we have to now get involved in, to see how far we can make progress on this human rights issue. Again, it is part of the Golden Thread agenda the Prime Minister has talked about.

Q125 Fiona Bruce: Is it something you are committed to do?

Justine Greening: Yes.

Q126 Pauline Latham: We already see the abuse of human rights in many places, and I understand that in Uganda this week they will bring into Parliament the antigay Bill, which is very dangerous. I was wondering if there was any pressure that you or any others could put upon the Government there to stop it, and other African countries who might want to stop it. I know that is not the subject of today’s meeting, but I did want to raise it with you because it is very important.

Justine Greening: It is important. From a DFID perspective, whenever we are engaged with budget support through governments to help deliver our programmes, as we talked about last week, we set out partnership principles and they critically include human rights. I think equally, though, the Foreign Office, obviously, from a daytoday perspective on the ground, are also significantly engaged in pushing this agenda, where they feel they can influence governments. I think it is important, and it is one of the reasons why we think that it should be incorporated into any post2015 development framework. As your example points out, however, that for many countries will be a very difficult debate to have.

Pauline Latham: Yes.

Q127 Fiona O’Donnell: People with disabilities were completely missing from the MDGs, and we heard that, Michael, from what you read out just now about employment. Would you like to see targets that were standalone, or do you think the issue of rights and access and equality for people with disabilities should be incorporated into every area?

Justine Greening: I am openminded about how we frame any development goals so that we achieve the right things on the ground. What is interesting to me is that some of the progress that we have seen, particularly around vaccination, helps to avoid disability, and yet that would not be one of the key targets you would see alongside any immunisation and vaccination programme. It may be that we want to have a clearer lens through any new development framework about how it will affect disability, not just in terms of improved rights and access to being involved in society for people who are disabled, but actually the work that will prevent people from being disabled in the first place.

Chair: For the record, this Committee is still minded to do a Report on disability some time in the next 12 months or so. There are an awful lot of disabled people-more, proportionally-in developing countries and they are less well served by definition, because they are in poor countries. We think that is something we want to focus attention on, but no doubt we will engage later on that.

Q128 Jeremy Lefroy: One matter that comes up a lot is the issue of inequality: not only inequality between countries but within individual countries. Clearly this is of major concern across the world, including the Western world, as we see widening gaps between the wealthy and the poor. What do you think, Secretary of State, could be done within the post2015 goals to express this real concern that there is? It is not just a concern about income distribution, but also about political stability and other matters.

Justine Greening: You are right that this issue is not particularly developing in a countryspecific way. You can come at it from two or three ways. One is to make sure that the outcomes that are being achieved are disaggregated to such an extent that you can see, and you can bring transparency to bear that way. Another is to decide which aspects of unequal treatment or inequality you particularly want to focus in on, and then simply decide to track that. Finally, you can come at it from a different route, which is the one we talked about, which is more around this zero base, so everybody has the right to a particular access to something, and you tackle inequality that way, through lifting people before they get left behind.

There are different ways we can come at it, and depending on what particular objective we have post-2015, you might take a different approach, but I think it is a reasonable debate to be had. My main priority is around this issue of people not being left behind. That is the key for me. I think it is about understanding that we need to see progress for people across countries, but also within countries, and how we make sure we strike the right balance there.

Q129 Jeremy Lefroy: Do you think it would be sensible to have a specific goal to reduce inequality, or is that too vague and allencompassing?

Justine Greening: I am sure lots of people, as we debate what the new framework should be, will have lots of different views. As I said, to my mind, it may be that it is too broadbrush. I think the main thing, from my perspective, that I have had a concern around is how we can make sure that people are not left behind. Here in the UK obviously we are having a debate on child poverty, and you see our child poverty numbers technically falling-not because any child in any of our constituencies is better off, but because other people have seen their incomes fall. The most important aspect of this, and what I think was so powerful about the first set of development goals, was how actionable they were for individuals, and I would not want to see us lose that.

Q130 Fiona O’Donnell: The UK is committed to achieving 0.7% of our GDP in aid. Where would you like to see that sitting? Should it be in the new post2015 framework that all major donors would have to make that commitment?

Justine Greening: My sense is that we will probably have a big debate about what the development goals should be, and in a sense there is an argument to say, "Let us have a separate debate on countries financing that development agenda." The Government has been very clear about our commitment to meeting our 0.7% of GNI going into international development, and we will, alongside this agenda of discussing and debating what we think that new development framework needs to look like, use that as a catalyst to have a fresh debate on other countries matching our commitment. The progress we have seen over the last 15 years shows that we can really make a difference when we work together, but the more countries that are prepared to be part of that the better, frankly, and the more progress we will make, faster. You are right that it is a relevant question, but I see it as one that is probably set apart from this core debate that we will hopefully see, and into which the High Level Panel’s recommendations will feed, on the broader development framework.

Q131 Fiona O’Donnell: The other thing that developed countries like the UK can do is to ensure that companies that are making profits in developing countries are paying tax and declaring that. I know we have domestic problems with that. I wonder if you would be in favour of all companies listed on our Stock Exchange having to declare what tax they are paying in developing countries?

Justine Greening: Transparency is important. We also need to be proportionate with companies, but you are right: there is a debate around people and companies paying their fair share of tax in the countries in which they operate. It is one that the Government is right to be looking at, and I have no doubt that when we host the G8 next year, it will be one of the things that this Government wants to engage other countries in debate on. There is no doubt in my mind that there is an element of the debate we have here in the UK and internationally that will need some kind of global solution if we are to tackle it in a smart way. Therefore it is something, I am sure, that this Government will want to pursue in its G8 Presidency.

Q132 Fiona O’Donnell: We are alone in achieving the 0.7%, so do you not think we could also give a lead, perhaps, in terms of companies declaring what tax they are paying?

Justine Greening: I have no doubt that that debate will rage. We want to have an approach that will be proportionate for companies. Transparency is part of that, and of course there is nothing stopping companies at the moment from being more transparent. Consumers are increasingly streetsmart about understanding which companies they feel are behaving in a responsible way, just generally-but I think increasingly that involves how they manage their tax affairs too.

Q133 Jeremy Lefroy: Could I ask a slightly mischievous question? Do you find it slightly depressing that at the moment the UK is taking the lead among major donors with the 0.7%, which does not appear to be gaining too much traction with other major donors, and yet is being fiercely criticised for a quite understandable reluctance to increase contributions to the European Union budget, which goes to people who are not particularly poor compared with those whom the 0.7% is helping?

Fiona O'Donnell: Very mischievous.

Justine Greening: Having been a Treasury Minister in the past, leading those on-the-ground EU-budget negotiations, I absolutely support what our Government is trying to achieve, which is not just getting better value for money but having a laserlike focus on affordability and the fact that the European Union budget needs to be affordable, and it needs to be a budget that reflects that we all have to live within our means. We do not think that the current proposal on the EU budget meets that, and that is why the Prime Minister is quite right to push for a far better settlement.

I think that the UK Government does provide leadership worldwide on our investment in international development. I also think that in the long term it is not just the right thing to do, but as I have said on many an occasion, it is also the smart thing to do. That will be shown to be the case in the coming years, as our economic relationships with many of these developing countries grow.

Q134 Chair: Can I ask you a specific question following from that? Depending, obviously, on what the outcome of the budget settlement is, as you will know, the Committee has criticised the fact that a proportion of the core budget goes to Neighbourhood Policy, and is then classed as development assistance, but the biggest share of it goes to Turkey. We were not very keen about that, whereas the Development Fund does deliver our objectives. What is the Department’s or the Government’s current position in relation to that aspect of the budget? In other words, when you are talking about wanting to freeze the budget, cap it or cut it, does that include budgetisation or nonbudgetisation of development, and does it include maintaining the same level of commitment on development?

Justine Greening: When the European Development Fund went through the Multilateral Aid Review, as the Committee will know, it came out with a good rating as being an effective tool. We are pressing, and in fact I have been to Luxembourg to press, for improvements in the other instruments that you mentioned, to make sure that they similarly improve their effectiveness. In terms of the Government’s strategy, we have been very clear that we want to see a limit to the EU budget. Our main priority is actually around the size of the EU budget. Within that, though, we have also been clear that we see areas such as Heading IV as one of our priorities-but that can only come after we have achieved a size of budget that we think is acceptable.

Q135 Chair: So our position on whether or not the Development Fund should be incorporated in the budget or maintained as a separate fund will depend on the outcome of negotiations, or the process of negotiations?

Justine Greening: Our position is that we understand we need to go through a negotiation within the EU, and that budgetisation of the European Development Fund is going to be part of that negotiation, because of the countries proposing it. The UK position is that we do not want to see longterm budgetisation of the Fund. We are happy with it being outside the budget as it stands now.

Q136 Chair: And you would not want it to receive the main burden of any cuts?

Justine Greening: In a nutshell, no, but the main priority for our Government is to get an overall size of EU budget that we believe is affordable. Within that, then, yes, we have priorities, and one of them is Heading IV, but the overriding priority is to achieve an outcome in the EU budget and Multiannual Financial Framework that is acceptable to the UK and is affordable.

Michael Anderson: Chairman, the critical thing with the EDF is that it remain effective, and we think that is possible either as a budgetised or a nonbudgetised instrument. The key thing is not diluting that effectiveness.

Q137 Chair: Yes. So we would resist anything that we felt was going to dilute it. It is just because the Government’s position changed from wanting to keep it out to allowing it to be budgetised, but only on the condition that it meets your criteria. A final point on consultation: slightly unfairly, perhaps, the MDGs are often regarded as something that was hatched up in a room in New York and presented to the world, and it took a little while for the world to catch on. This is a much more open and engaging process, but do you think there is adequate consultation? Your own Department is funding two processes, and indeed do you think there is enough time to glean that information, analyse it and feed it in to the process to be effective?

Justine Greening: You are right that there needs to be a huge amount of consultation. We cannot have a topdown approach to setting the next post2015 development framework. It needs to be something that can be bought into more broadly across the world. You are also right that we believe we need to have consultation at a very grassroots level, not just at the national level, although the UN is engaged in 50 national consultations at the moment, and I think I am right in saying nine thematic global consultations. Beyond that you are right: DFID has been part of funding some internetbased consultations that will give people wherever they are in the world, but particularly in the places that we want to see develop, their individual chance to participate through those routes too.

Will we be able to do enough to inform the process? I think we can. When you combine what the High Level Panel process is doing in terms of its outreach, what is happening in many national governments, the kinds of discussions we are having here today, for example, and the work that is happening more broadly to allow individuals to participate and say what they think the next framework should look like, there is a huge amount of consultation going on. As you say, Chair, the key to success will be ensuring that we can synthesise all of that and understand what it adds up to, because there will be a lot of it.

Q138 Chair: In terms of the institutions, clearly it is a more wideranging process than was the case last time. The truth is the World Bank was not really involved; it bought in later, whereas this time the World Bank is clearly involved. But what about the people? ONE have specifically said-and we did raise this with the UN representatives-"Why does the UN not commission a representative poll, taken from amongst the poorest people on the planet, to ask them what makes them poor and what they think would actually materially improve their quality of life?" Otherwise, is there not a danger that this is a handeddown process from the supposed development experts on what we think they want, rather than what they actually want?

Justine Greening: There is a lot of work going on in this area, and I will write to the Committee with a much fuller briefing on this. There are several strands of work being led. For example, the UN is leading an initiative called, which is hosting a series of online consultations. You talked about some of the other initiatives. There is the My World initiative, launched by the UN Millennium Campaign, which is all about allowing citizens to vote online, through their smartphones, through text messaging. There is also an initiative called Participate Initiative, which sees a coalition of NGOs and the IDS going out directly to talk to those sorts of communities you just mentioned about what their priorities are.

It sits alongside all the other work I talked about that the UN is also pushing. There is an awful lot of work going on, and it is probably worth me setting that out in a bit more of a detailed fashion for the Committee, if that is helpful. I would be quite happy to do that.

Michael Anderson: Chairman, we looked closely at the possibility of funding polling, particularly Afrobarometer and the like, and we concluded that the Participate Initiative, which is based on facetoface interviews with poor people, and My World, which will penetrate deeply through SMS technology, are likely to reach a broader group than the more limited group of polling. We chose those deliberately because they would be better tools for getting the voices of the poor into the conversation.

Q139 Chair: Are the DFID country offices charged with any particular requirement to try to feed in to this process? When the Committee visits a country to talk to people, I suppose we try to ask them basic questions: "How good, bad or indifferent is it for you? What goes right? What goes wrong? What would make a difference to you?" Have they been given a specific steer to try to gather some of that together in the countries in which we operate, and feed it in to the process?

Justine Greening: They are naturally doing that as part of the work that they do anyhow. Obviously for DFID this debate, and where we end up on it, is massively important, because it will determine an awful lot of where our Department focuses its own energies over the coming timeframe, however long the development timeframe lasts. DFID is centre stage in this work, and we do reach out to our country programmes in order to get their views. In fact, I am just kicking off a listening exercise, or whatever you want to call it, across DFID at the moment, which I launched last week, precisely to ask them about what their views are on how we need to structure DFID in the long term, and also where we need to focus our efforts and what we will have to do to be successful. There is also a good opportunity there for people, wherever they are in the DFID organisation, to feed in to this kind of process too.

Q140 Fiona O'Donnell: I wonder if I could just put in a plea for the people who have missed out on the MDGs-often the most marginalised indigenous people and untouchables. Are you sending a message to DFID offices that they must engage with those groups?

Justine Greening: We try our best to make sure we are doing that. Why do I not take an action, after this meeting, to send a communiqué out with the results of the discussion we have had here today? That can sit alongside the questions I am already asking people in DFID about what they think we need to do to be outstanding and even how we can make sure we are delivering on the ground for the people we want to help. I am quite happy to do that, and that might be quite a good way of knitting in what DFID staff think to the work that we are all doing.

Q141 Chair: That would be very helpful and a very worthwhile initiative. As you rightly say, the UK is a major player on this issue, and clearly, at least in the countries in which we operate bilaterally, we perhaps have a particular take that is worth feeding in to it. I think that is an excellent suggestion, so thank you for that. Can I thank both of you, Secretary of State and Mr Anderson, for coming along this morning? Clearly this is an exercise that is beginning to generate a great deal of public interest. I think we have been told that we are a little bit ahead of the game in looking at it in the way we are doing, and certainly the intention is that our Report will be published in time to have an impact on the process, rather than just being a comment on it from the touchlines.

Justine Greening: Yes.

Q142 Chair: That is our intention. Thank you very much indeed, and can I say to you, Mr Anderson, that I wish you well over the next few months? I guess we might hear from you down the line.

Michael Anderson: Thank you.

Prepared 21st January 2013