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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, certainly, in the operation of the control orders, there could be a very wide spectrum of intervention—from those who may need to report at certain times, to those who need to be tagged. There can be a combination of measures. Regarding the right reverend Prelate's other comments, the Government have tried to keep those matters very much in balance.


Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, perhaps I may remind the House of a point made by the Government Chief Whip that when six minutes is indicated on the clock, Members should have completed their six minutes. The instant—the second—that "6" appears on the clock should be the end of the six minutes.

Lord Ackner: My Lords, why do we not alter the clock? We have this problem every time. Why do we not start with "1" on the clock and then there would not be part of the problem to which the noble Baroness drew attention?

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I agree completely with the noble and learned Lord. He has been here longer than I and he knows that changing things in the House of Lords takes time.

Poverty in Developing Countries

Baroness Whitaker rose to call attention to Her Majesty's Government's policies to reduce poverty in developing countries; and to move for Papers.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, any debate on this subject must be coloured by the disaster of the tsunami, but I would like to set the situation of the urgent catastrophe in the context of the long-term needs of development. DfID's exemplary response is
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now turning towards helping rebuilding on the Indian Ocean shores more sustainably and strengthening their infrastructure against calamity.

Many departments of state have an influence on poverty in developing countries. Those of us who think of the world as increasingly interdependent—"one moral universe", to quote my right honourable friend the Chancellor—applaud the policy of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign Office to push for trade justice and market access for the exports of developing countries, and look to that of the Ministry of Defence on arms control and effort on small arms brokering. The responsibility of the Home Office for anti-corruption legislation—still awaited—is a heavy one, in view of the devastating effect corruption by developed country companies has on developing economies and democracies. The Department of Trade and Industry's influence over the standards of the Export Credit Guarantee Department is another part of the anti-corruption jigsaw.

The Foreign Office uses its Global Opportunities Fund to strengthen governance in emerging markets so that economic growth can be sustained, and it works to implement the United Nations Resolution 1325 to enlarge the role of women in conflict resolution, who, of course, suffer disproportionately in war.

The home departments of health, education, environment, work and pensions, revenue collection, among others, contribute their expertise as part of a remarkable government front against poverty in the developing world.

All this, of course, is in most cases co-ordinated by the real experts in poverty reduction, the Department for International Development, and where it is not, I suggest it should be. DfID, under the leadership of my right honourable friend Hilary Benn, has a strategic focus which directs a mighty British engine at the world's most pervasive evil. I quote:

But I am not quoting DfID there; I am quoting The Economist. I met a friend recently who had come back to this country after 10 years away and said, "What has happened to international development? When I went away, the department was small, impoverished and on the margins of government. Now it is respected all over the world, has really significant funding and leads central government policy".

DfID directs this in alliance with my right honourable friend the Chancellor, whose role in debt reduction, advocating world support for increased aid, financial instruments of leverage like the international financing facility and DfID's own increasing budget—which has nearly doubled in real terms since 1997, making it the fourth largest donor in the world— makes one of the magnificent partnerships in the history of the government of this country.

If we play our full part and persuade others to follow our example, along with the other great nations in international development like Sweden, Norway and
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the Netherlands and emerging ones like Japan, the realisation of the millennium development goals is within the world's grasp. If we do not, we shall have let slip the first and greatest opportunity to make poverty history. In two months, the Africa Commission, set up by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, but with a majority of African members, will need support for its recommendations. Next September, world leaders will assess progress towards the millennium development goals. Before that, the UK will chair G8, as well as the presidency of the European Union. So this opportunity is hugely in our hands, and there is a need for the public throughout the developed world to put pressure on politicians now to reflect their concerns.

I am sure we all agree that it is economic growth which makes real, permanent inroads into poverty, and that the purpose of development aid is to propel equitable economic growth.

DfID's focus has been to confer ownership of development on the nation states themselves through direct budget support for the very first basis of growth—health, sanitation and education, with appropriate conditions to make investment effective. Thus, Uganda has universal primary education and Tanzania has very recently brought primary education enrolment from 50 per cent to 90 per cent, with British help. DfID's work in conflict resolution and post-conflict restoration, as well as humanitarian aid, supplements this. But it is now also refashioning its policy on agricultural support to enable rapid smallholder productivity growth, such a feature of the Asian rise to prosperity. No doubt it will draw on the new report of the Inter-Academy Council to the UN Secretary-General—Realising the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture—which proposes means to achieve ample food security for the whole continent. But I hope DfID will go beyond food security to helping make agricultural development the springboard for growth.

The paradox of agriculture is that only expansion of agriculture can bring developing regions out of poverty, because such an overwhelming proportion of the people in poor countries are employed in it, and no other sector could provide work for so many people who need work; but then it must also diminish as a proportion of GDP. Growth cannot increase without accompanying development in manufacturing and services, with the prizes going to those which have seized the most technological opportunities and produced the most trained workforce. For instance, a new, effective cure for malaria, the killer of most African children, has been extracted from the plant artemisia, which is in very short supply and is now being cultivated in Kenya and Tanzania. If the drug could be manufactured there rather than grown only as a cash crop and shipped unprocessed to Novartis, how much more value-added and training the local workforce would accumulate.

I would like to say one more thing about that workforce. It is increasing. There is a sharp rise in the proportion of adults aged 15 to 60 in sub-Saharan Africa. When a similar event occurred in Asia, there was a huge rise in growth and in the share of growth
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which went to the poor, because demand for labour rose equally fast, initially mainly because of the needs of successful smallholder production, according to very interesting research by Michael Lipton and Robert Eastwood. Subsequently, investment in competitive, highly technical industries provided opportunities for training and further employment. Of course, countries like India and China had previously also invested in basic infrastructure, including education. This proportionate increase in the labour force in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be slowing down by 2050, so if its benefit is to be reaped, the infrastructure must be laid down now.

Together with physical infrastructure and research, human capital must be developed. Throughout Africa there are not enough people trained in the skills needed by the growth industries. Even South Africa has only increased enrolment at tertiary level in technical subjects to 13 per cent, as compared with Thailand and Malaysia's 30 per cent. This is where partnerships of aid agencies, NGOs and the private sector could make a remarkable difference. Cultures need to change. Uganda is not alone in paying too much respect to academic tertiary education and not enough to technical skills aimed at greater productivity. As well as trade policy, productivity policy should be an essential part of national poverty reduction strategies, and DfID works with developing country governments to help this along.

Poverty reduction strategies could in particular improve growth by paying attention to women. DfID knows well how women's work is pivotal in development, and my noble friend Lady Royall will speak about that.

In conclusion, this Government have arguably done more than any in our history to reduce poverty in developing countries, but more than ever in our history are we all at risk from the misfortunes of each other. War, disease, crime, harmful drugs and terror do not respect national boundaries. As long ago as 2002, Mary Robinson said in her Commonwealth lecture:

If it was true then, it is even more true now.

We have a unique opportunity to influence profoundly the chances of those of our fellow human beings whom circumstances and error have served badly and thus, incidentally, to secure for ourselves a safer and more prosperous future. The British people's moving contribution to tsunami disaster aid shows that we all care about the fate of others—so we should all put pressure on governments to confront those who keep systemic poverty in place through protectionism, lax controls on corruption, underfunding and the spread of small arms. We should take advantage of this moment in history, in part created by our own Government, to conquer deeply entrenched poverty.

I look forward very much to the debate, and I beg to move for Papers.
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4.21 p.m.

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