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What the party manifestos say about international development

The Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative Party, the Green Party and the Scottish National Party have now published their manifestos for the election on 8 June.

So what did these parties say about international development in their manifestos? We’ve rounded up their commitments, in order of publication.


A Global Britain“, 16 May 2017

  • Labour will continue to spend 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development assistance, and develop a targeted development agenda based on the principles of redistribution, social justice, women’s rights and poverty reduction.
  • Labour will take robust action to end the self-regulation of Department for International Development private contractors, establishing and enforcing new rules to ensure aid is used to reduce poverty for the many, not to increase profits for the few.
  • Support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed globally to eradicate poverty and protect the environment.
  • Develop a cross-government strategy for ensuring the SDGs are implemented, and report annually to Parliament on our performance.
  • In the first 100 days of government, Labour will produce a cross-departmental strategy to meet our international obligations on the refugee crisis.
  • Work in partnership with communities in the Global South to develop long-term strategies for strengthening economies and societies.
  • Reinstate the Civil Society Challenge Fund to support trade unions, women’s associations and other civil society organisations which are the most effective forces in winning human rights and workers’ rights.
  • Ensure respect for human rights, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability in the operations of British businesses around the world.
  • Work to tighten the rules governing corporate accountability for abuses in global supply chains.
  • Work with business to ensure the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act are fully respected, including reporting on due diligence in supply chains.
  • Extend the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator beyond direct suppliers to ensure fair treatment for all those producing goods for the UK’s largest supermarkets.
  • Establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage, providing global partnerships, support and encouragement to countries that want UHC, helping them to generate the funding and systems required for its delivery.
  • Invest in new public-health driven research and development to find effective and affordable treatments for diseases in the developing world, including fighting TB, malaria, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases.

Liberal Democrats

Fight for a better world“, 17 May 2017

  • Maintain commitment to spend 0.7% of UK Gross National Income on overseas development assistance, in line with the OECD definition, which they legislated for in the last Parliament.
  • Invest to eliminate within a generation preventable diseases like TB, HIV and malaria and explore new ways to support research and development into vaccinations and treatment to combat these and other deadly diseases and infections.
  • Develop a global education strategy to address the urgent funding crisis causing 263 million children to miss out on schooling.
  • Lead international action to ensure global companies pay fair taxes in the developing countries in which they operate, including tightening anti-tax haven rules and requiring large companies to publish their tax payments and profits for each country in which they operate.
  • Continue building the resilience of poorer countries to resist future disasters, investing in healthcare and infrastructure and training emergency response volunteers, and respond generously to humanitarian crises wherever they may occur.
  • Provide greater resources for international environmental cooperation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory, and fish.
  • Introduce Sustainable Development Goals audits of new trade, investment and development deals, reviewing the impact of the deal on people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership
  • In light of the US government’s dangerous and anti-science attacks on international programmes of vaccination and family planning, which impact disproportionately on the health of women and children, seek to protect global spending on these essential provisions.

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Leading the world in development“, 18 May 2017

  • Maintain the commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies.
  • Continue to use the aid budget in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals; to end extreme poverty, save children’s lives and provide and education for girls.
  • Work to end the subjugation and mutilation of women
  • Combat the brutal slave trade in fellow human beings and prevent catastrophic environmental degradation
  • Continue to lead the global efforts to tackle sexual violence in conflict
  • Significantly increase out funding of UK-led medical and technical research into the biggest threats to global health and prosperity
  • “Work with like-minded countries to change the rules so that they are updated and better reflect the breadth of our assistance around the world.”
  • “If that does not work, we will change the law to allow us to use a better definition of development spending, while continuing to meet our 0.7 target.”


A safer world“, 22 May 2017

  • A humane immigration and asylum system that recognises and takes responsibility for Britain’s ongoing role in causing the flow of migrants worldwide.
  • Implement a UK-wide strategy to tackle gender based violence, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, FGM and trafficking.
  • An ethical foreign policy that builds capacity for conflict resolution, and ends support for aggressive wars of intervention. No more arms sales to oppressive regimes
  • Trade rules that respect human rights, labour standards, environmental standards and climate commitments with mechanisms for individuals, groups and communities to bring grievances.
  • Strengthen the global deal on climate change, including by delivering climate justice and promoting ecologically sustainable development so that poorer countries can cope with the impacts of climate change.
  • Increase the overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 1.0% of GDP
  • Defend the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, and reinstate funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  • Give Parliament a vote on any new trade deals.

Scottish National Party

A compassionate country“, 30 May 2017

  • Maintain the commitment of spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on international development, ensuring it meets the Development Assistance Criteria and does not undermine public services in developing countries. Overseas aid funding must not be used for defence or intelligence related expenditure.
  • Ensure development programmes have human rights and the rights of women at their heart.
  • Maintain the position of a Climate Justice Spokesperson, and call on the UK government to match the approach of the Scottish Government with a dedicated Climate Justice Fund.
  • Commit to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals at home and overseas.
  • Maintain the Department for International Development as a standalone department with its own Secretary of State.
  • Ensure that the UK’s trade arrangements with developing countries prioritise poverty reduction.
  • Develop a trade and development policy that outlines how the UK will support development as part of its trade with developing countries.


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