The Bishop of Coventry asked a question about the UN Sustainable Development Goals on 13th October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the latest Goalkeepers report from the Gates Foundation finds that we need to speed up the pace of our progress by five times if we are to stand any chance of meeting the goals. Mindful of the noble Lord’s earlier answers, does he agree with the report’s emphasis on providing to sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income regions the necessary support and investment in agricultural R&D to provide for innovative inventions such as drought-resistant maize and short-duration rice?
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con): That is an extremely important point. It is a core part of the work we are doing, particularly in the Horn of Africa, which we discussed in the previous Question. I will not repeat all the numbers because the House will have heard them, but the right reverend Prelate makes an important point. Total annual global aid is around $170 billion, but it is estimated that the funding gap, if we are to achieve the sustainable development goals, is nearer $3.7 trillion. Even if we were all to double our aid commitments globally it would still not touch the sides. The answer therefore has to be to use other tools that Governments have access to. I mentioned trade earlier. The UK, as the fifth- or sixth-biggest economy in the world and a big, attractive market for those poorer countries, is committed to making itself more available and more accessible to those countries in a way that perhaps we should have done in the past.