Stirling MP Alyn Smith took part in a debate on “Britain in the World” yesterday (Monday 13 Jan), and called for more to be done to tackle Climate Change through international aid.
During his contribution, Mr Smith welcomed the commitment from the UK Government to maintaining the 0.7% of GDP rate for international aid, however cautioned against any suggestion that the Department for International Development (DFID) be merged with the Foreign Office, and said that international aid should be free from politicisation.
During his speech, Mr Smith also called for the international aid budget to be used to better tackle Climate Change. He said:
“In 2017, DFID managed only 72% of official development assistance, down from 88% in 2013. Given the budgets being spent by other Departments, we think that is a retrograde drift that we need to reverse. We want to see an independent DFID—not part of the FCO—and we want the budget to be focused on climate change. The world is moving fast. We need to see a strong effort on climate change, because it is a global imperative that we very strongly support. The International Development Committee has called for this, and we would welcome and support moves towards it.”
Commenting after the debate, Mr Smith said:
“There is a lot to discuss on a debate titled “Britain in the World”, particularly one that is brought to the Commons by a Government set to take the UK out of the biggest single market the world has ever known. However, I won’t shy away from welcoming actions from the UK Government that I agree with.
“The UK’s role in the world includes a responsibility to aiding developing nations, and the continued commitment to maintaining international aid at 0.7% is therefore welcome. However, more can be done to help tackle some of the big issues facing the whole world today.”
“The Scottish Government is leading the way in terms of tackling climate change, and moving over towards renewable forms of energy. Scotland is demonstrating what can be done, and the International Development Department can do more to use its resources to help tackle Climate Change elsewhere.
“Climate Change affects all of us. It does not discriminate borders. International aid budgets can be better utilised to help nations around the world to tackle it.”
You can watch the speech here.