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Voters in Dewbury go in to a polling station

What the Lib Dems manifesto says about international development

21 November 2019
Author: Paul Abernethy

The Liberal Democrats have released their manifesto, “Stop Brexit: Build a brighter future”.

The 100-page document breaks down what the Liberal Democrats hope to achieve in government.  We take a closer look at the party’s pledges on foreign policy, human rights, climate change, and aid amongst others.  

This is just a snapshot of the manifesto. Read a full breakdown of pledges in the full manifesto. We’ll be analysing the other main parties’ manifestos as they come out. You can also find links to all the party manifestos that have been released so far at the bottom of this blog. 

Aid and development 

The Lib Dems have said that they will continue to support the law that binds the UK government to spend at least 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development assistance. It was a Private Members Bill brought forward by the then-Lib Dem MP, Michael Moore, that led to the creation of the 0.7% law. 

The party has also said they will prioritise development that “both helps the poorest and ties in with our strategic international objectives on gender equality, climate change and the environment, human rights, conflict prevention, and tackling inequality.”  

The Lib Dems will increase the amount of the aid budget committed to tackling climate change, although have stopped short of saying how much.  

Leave no one behind 

The Lib Dems have committed to pursue a foreign policy agenda that puts gender equality at its heart, with a focus on the economic inclusion, education, and reproductive rights. They will also campaign to fight against exclusion of women in communities and end sexual violence in conflict zones. 

They also have committed to defending the human rights of all, including LGBTQ+ individuals, and those persecuted for their religious beliefs. Education is also a priority issue for the party – they are committing to developing a global education strategy that will look to address the 263 million children out of school around the world. 

Climate change 

As well as increasing the amount of aid money being spent on climate change, the Lib Dems also recommit to supporting the Paris Agreement and endeavour to show global leadership by pushing for all countries to commit to net zero climate emissions by the 2020 UN Climate Conference, hosted in Glasgow.  

The party wants to use EU trade agreements to force other countries to act on climate change, with focusing on Brazil and their actions towards the Amazon rainforest.   

Human rights and equality 

The Lid Dems have committed to tackling safeguarding issues in the sector by requiring all organisations to report all instances of abuse overseas, with the view to cut funding if any organisation is found in violation of these terms. This includes UK NGOs and the Armed Forces.  

The party will concentrate on creating a reporting mechanism that protects survivors and whistleblowers. 

Trade and corruption 

The Lib Dems will work through international bodies for better regulation and scrutiny of international trade and investment treaties to ensure they do not worsen inequalities or undermine human rights or developing countries’ ability to regulate the environmental and social impacts of businesses. 

The party will also champion global anti-corruption initiatives and ensure the UK and British Overseas Territories have publicly-accessible registers of beneficial ownership of companies registered in their jurisdictions. 

Other major policies 

Commit to the principle of collective self-defence as laid out in the North Atlantic Treaty and spending 2% of GDP on defence in line with NATO recommendations. 

Champion the liberal, rules-based international order, which provides a strong basis for multilateral action to address the world’s biggest problems. 

Use all aspects of government policy – trade, aid and diplomacy, as well as military cooperation – to strengthen UK efforts to prevent violent conflict. 

Increase overseas financial support for the ongoing refugee crisis, focussing on countries that have accepted millions of refugees. 

Other manifestos released so far (in order of release date) 

About the author

Paul Abernethy
Bond

Paul leads the political advocacy of Bond, working with parliamentarians and ministers in support of ending global poverty.