The UK White Paper on International Development has been launched, amid global financial crisis and recession. With most eyes on the UK domestic situation, the White Paper set out the Government's stall on global poverty eradication.
Three key themes emerged, all of them of interest to ODI:
- Interdependence; the acknowledgement that the success and security of others has a profound effect on our own. The global financial crisis has proved this interdependence, with financial turmoil in one part of the world proving a strong catalyst for economic turmoil almost everywhere else.
- Fragile states. This is the first White Paper since 1997 to prioritise the challenge of development in conflict-affected and fragile contexts. The White Paper stresses that doing development as ‘business as usual’ in these contexts is an exercise in futility, and emphasises security, justice and economic development.
- Climate change. The White Paper stresses the importance of leadership from rich countries to stop climate change becoming a development disaster for poor countries. The challenge is to ensure that climate commitments made at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen later this year are far reaching and binding enough.
The White Paper, launched in the same week as the G-8 meeting in Italy, touches on all of the issues outlined by ODI in its Development Charter for the G-20 earlier this year. This stated that leaders of rich nations cannot deliver development, but they can create the climate that makes lasting development possible. The White Paper makes it clear that the UK sees its responsibility – can it convince other G-8 countries of theirs?