Manifesto 2019:A New Internationalism - International Solidarity

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International Solidarity

The scale of the challenges facing our world are enormous. Conflict, climate change and a global economy rigged in favour of a tiny elite are driving instability and inequality across the world. A bold international development policy driven by social justice has never been more needed.

Labour will use Britain’s influence within the World Bank, IMF and WTO to transform the rules of the global economy so they work for the many.

We recognise the need to address historic injustices and will reset our relationships with countries in the Global South based on principles of redistribution and equality, not outdated notions of charity or imperialist rule. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour is fully committed to a standalone Department for International Development (DfID), with an aid budget of at least 0.7% of gross national income. We will introduce the reduction of inequality as a goal for all aid spending alongside existing poverty reduction and gender equality goals.

For the Conservatives, too often humanitarian aid is undermined by their disastrous foreign policy, as in Yemen. Under Labour, we will ensure policy coherence across our international-facing departments. Under Labour, DfID will continue to respond to the world’s biggest crises and will ensure humanitarian aid is provided according to need, not whether the UK has commercial or other interests in the country. DfID will assume a strong position in cross-government decision making, including a permanent seat on the Export Control Joint Unit responsible for licensing arms exports. Our international programme will be based on human rights and gender equality.

We will:

  • Uphold basic rights to education, health and clean water by establishing a new Unit for Public Services within DfID, which will include increasing direct budgetary support to governments so they can build sustainable services for their citizens.
  • Promote fairer international tax rules and help countries in the Global South build progressive tax systems to finance essential public services.
  • Support trade unions internationally in their efforts to promote collective bargaining for better pay and conditions, and include binding social chapters in trade agreements to safeguard workers’ rights.
  • Support ongoing UN efforts to introduce a binding international treaty on business and human rights, and make companies legally accountable for failing to prevent human rights abuses or environmental damage in their operations and supply chains, including criminal liability in the most serious cases.
  • Implement a gender transformative approach across all our international work, including tripling funding for grassroots women’s organisations and establishing an independent ombudsman to tackle abuse in the development sector.

Labour believes in climate justice.

Wealthy countries like the UK bear the greatest responsibility for the climate emergency. Countries in the Global South that have done the least to cause climate change are already facing the worst impacts, such as rising sea levels, more frequent hurricanes and greater food insecurity. We have a duty to right this wrong.

We will:

  • Provide a top-up of new and additional spending on international climate finance to bring the total to £4 billion a year, and also support international calls for compensation to those nations already suffering loss and damage.
  • Stop all aid spending on fossil fuel production overseas, redirecting it towards clean, renewable energy for all.
  • End all UK Export Finance support to fossil fuel projects, and reject any trade deals that conflict with our climate principles.
  • Undertake a root-and-branch reform of CDC Group plc (DfID’s principal vehicle for encouraging private sector investment in developing countries), transforming it into a green development bank mandated to fight poverty, inequality and climate change.

Labour respects the crucial role played by small-scale farmers the world over in guaranteeing people the right to food.

We will:

  • Establish an aid-funded Food Sovereignty Fund to enable small- scale farmers in the Global South to gain access to land, seeds and finance, and uphold indigenous peoples’ right to land.
  • Support sustainable local food and agriculture markets in the fight against climate change.

Labour believes human rights should drive our trade policy.

We will:

  • Implement UK arms export controls to the highest standard, putting an end to exports where they might be used in violation of human rights or international humanitarian law.
  • Ensure government procurement contracts are not granted to companies that are complicit in serious human rights abuses, and require all UK trade agreements to be consistent with international humanitarian law.
  • Introduce legislation to ensure transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of trade and investment agreements.
  • Reject any trade agreements that undermine labour standards or environmental protections, and rule out UK Export Finance support to companies engaged in bribery or corruption.

Labour recognises the right to essential medicines as an integral part of the right to health.

We will:

  • Promote fairer international patent regimes that do not prevent countries from accessing essential medicines and support efforts to increase the transparency of medicines pricing so governments can negotiate fair prices.
  • In the long term, ensure that all medicines developed with the support of UK taxpayer money are accessible to people in the Global South.