CFID Annual Lecture: Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, International Development Secretary
Over 90 CFID Members, development professionals and politicians braved the gap between Brexit votes to attend the CFID Lecture and Reception on 13 March 2019.
CFID were honored to host the International Development Secretary of State, Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP as the Keynote Speaker, who was incredibly generous with her time and Q&A session. Other supporting speakers included Baroness Nicholson, Executive Chairman AMAR Foundation, Nimco Ali, FGM Campaigner & CEO The Five Foundation and Theo Clarke CEO, Coalition for Global Prosperity. All the speakers thanked and praised CFID for their work on international development within the Conservative Party and the number of volunteers who activly get involved in social action projects each year.
The event was co-hosted by CFID Chair, Jeremy Lefroy MP, CFID Founder, Baroness Anne Jenkin, and CFID Director, Caroline Squire.
Please find below a summary of some of the issues discussed that can also be found on HERHOUSE.
During the Keynote, the Secretary of State made set out how she wanted the public to "be proud# of the work DFID does. She outlined the changes since her tenure and the focus on the win/win agenda – getting UK aid to work twice as hard in the national interest as well as creating greater coherence within government as to what UK aid should be working for.
She explained that the British public “want to see that it (DFID) is reflecting their values” which has led to greater focus on policies that are in sync with the concerns of the public. This includes tackling climate change and working with the British Legion to support pre-independence Commonwealth veterans.
Looking towards the future, the Secretary of State focused on the National Conversation that will begin with financial services, pension providers and the public, looking for ideas and investment to close the financial gap that exists to achieving the Global Goals.
The Global Goals will be embedded into philanthropy projects and there will be a greater focus on the “small is great” agenda and the benefits of small grants. The future for international development and UK aid will also be developed through innovation, with policy “aided by the new things in our toolbox” such as drone technology. She argued the more we show the public of the benefits and the real change that U.K. aid can do, the better.
Challenges do exist for the Department for International Development as domestic priorities come up against the Global Britain agenda, but the Secretary of State said that “we have to have in mind that we are spending funds in the best way possible, if we get the win/win agenda right, then we will achieve the Global Goals” by 2030.
Baroness Nicholson, the Executive Chairman of the AMAR Foundation, spoke about how driving up education and health care can improve lives in developing countries. Nicholson described female genital mutilation as “one of the worst and most horrific punishments the world ever thought of for little girls”. She praised CFID for the work
During a more detailed discussion on tackling FGM, the award winning, Nimco Ali, the Founder of Daughters of Eve and CEO of The Five Foundations, said that that meeting the goal of eradicating it by 2030 was achievable, and “we can end FGM in a generation”. There are 70 million girls at risk of FGM, and Nimco described them as being treated “not as active citizens but as products to exchange”. She pointed out that work carried out so far on tackling FGM is a “snapshot of the power of empowering women” and called for funding to help women on the front line. The decrease in FGM in West Kenya from 80 to 20% shows how leveraging resources globally and building skills locally with small grants can help achieve the 2030 goal.
Closing the remarks, Theo Clarke, CEO of the Coalition for Global Prosperity, and sponsor of the event explained that UK aid is “not just the right thing to do, but in our national interest” and that there was a huge amount of work to do in order to persuade the party membership around to 0.7% funding commitment which “we need to explain better to the taxpayer”.
CFID is working hard in bringing Conservative Party supporters with an interest in international development together. It is through the sharing of ideas, best practice and innovation that we can build a more safer, stable and prosperous world for all citizens. It is right that the United Kingdom is at the forefront of this drive.