Long backs aid commitment Bill

Alliance MP Naomi Long has given her backing to a Bill designed to enshrine government aid commitments in legislation.

The International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons today (Friday). It seeks to enshrine in law 0.7 per cent of gross national income for international development packages.

Mrs Long said that despite austerity measures elsewhere, the Bill remained an important area to focus on.

“Global responsibility is just as central to our lives as local concerns. International development is critical. It is no longer simply about emergency aid and crisis interventions, though that is still important, but is more often about supporting infrastructural, social and economic development which allows individuals, communities and governments to be able to come more sustainable and self-reliant.

“Such reform can range from assistance with water, sanitation and hygiene, which not only improves health and mortality, but also allows women, in particular, to access education and employment, right through to assisting government with land and tax reform to ensure that the wealth of the country is used for the benefit of its citizens and not lost through corruption and tax avoidance.

“Such work is crucial in stabilising many volatile regions and can assist with community development and democratisation, and so has wider benefits at home as well as abroad. For a relatively modest spend, we can make an enormous difference internationally and having certainty in that commitment is something which I believe would be a major step forward.”


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