On 15th January 2015, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in a question for short debate in the House of Lords, led by Baroness Hayman, on what progress has been made in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in the developing world; and what plans they have to build on this work post-2015. The Bishop spoke of the situation in India, which has an ecumenical partnership with Derby Diocese, where one-third of global neonatal deaths occur. He noted that poverty, lack of education about basic hygine, attitudes towards women and girls and a lack of necessary infrastructure all contribute to high levels of maternal and neonatal mortality. He spoke of the grassroots responses to these conditions that he had observed in visits to India, and welcomed the partnership between DfID and development agencies such as Christian Aid, which work to channel funds to these effective local efforts.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I too congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, on securing this debate and on introducing it with such expertise and such a challenging sense of the statistics. Millennium development goals 4 and 5 are not being met and, as other speakers have said, the consequences are horrendous. My contribution will be from my own experience working with people at the grass roots, and I will then tease out what the implications of that experience should be.
I work in the diocese of Derby, in England, and we are twinned with the Church of North India, which extends from Calcutta to Mumbai—the whole of north India is twinned with our diocese in an ecumenical link. I work with people in a number of Indian communities where this issue is enormous. In 2012, one-third of global neonatal deaths happened in India. The highest rate of first-day mortality is in India. That is the context in which we are working with our partners, through whose eyes we discern some factors. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby: focus on grassroot responses to maternal mortality”
On 23rd October 2013, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington led a short debate in the House of Lords to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the United Nations High-level Panel report into the successor agenda to the Millennium Development Goals. The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, spoke during the debate, calling on the Government to support a post-2015 agenda focused on tackling inequality as well as extreme poverty.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Jenkin, and I share the welcome for the high-level panel report. I believe it could be strengthened in two areas. The first area is environmental sustainability. The millennium goals are weak on climate change and the high-level panel report does not make it sufficiently clear that global warming already damages the economies, and therefore the poor, in poorer countries such as Bangladesh. The panel has the laudable aim of eliminating $1.25 a day poverty but that needs to be inextricably linked with a new climate equilibrium, which we are far from attaining. Do Her Majesty’s Government agree that there needs to be a legally binding global climate deal in 2015 in line with the scientific consensus? Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds calls for post-2015 agenda to focus on tackling inequality”
On 22nd October 2013, Lord Chidgey asked Her Majesty’s Government what new millennium development goals they would prefer to see introduced post-2015. The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, will the Minister press for tax justice to be a distinctive international goal in ensuring that major corporations pay appropriate taxes and in channelling taxes to the countries where profits are actually made?
Baroness Northover: The right reverend Prelate is right to highlight that and he will know that the UK Government are emphasising the importance of tax being collected appropriately within the developing countries. This will be transformative. Corporate transparency is one of the aspects required and he will know that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for BIS, Vince Cable, is working very hard on that. BIS has just consulted and is considering responses, and DfID is trying to ensure that tax regimes in the developing countries are strengthened and built on.
On 25th July 2013, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to follow up the report of the United Nations High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: Like other noble Lords, I applaud the Prime Minister’s initiative and leadership in this area and encourage him to press on. In view of the importance that the report attaches to gender equality and empowerment, can the Minister confirm that the Government will look to next year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women, which starts in March, to build consensus among UN member states on this matter, ahead of any final negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda?
Baroness Northover: I can assure the right reverend Prelate that we are already doing that. A great deal of work went into ensuring that this year’s CSW could reach agreement. It required a lot of work but we were delighted that that agreement was reached. We are already working on the next one and are delighted that the second of the 12 goals is on gender equality.