On 18th May 2020 a virtual sitting of the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Sugg, “That the Virtual Proceedings do consider the international response to COVID-19.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, and the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, thankfully, the virus appears to be spreading slowly in most African countries, with Lesotho declaring its first case only last week. However, the World Bank forecasts that Covid-19 could push 49 million people into extreme poverty. The economic impact on some poorer nations could be more detrimental than the health threat. The aid Her Majesty’s Government committed at the international pledging event will be vital for the poorest nations, but our international response must be sustainable, which requires trade, not simply aid. What actions have Her Majesty’s Government taken to ensure that good free trade agreements are made with poorer nations?
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On 4th November 2019 Baroness Jenkin of Kennington moved a motion that the House take note of the Government’s “international development work to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and prevent biodiversity loss”. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, contributed to the debate:
Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I too welcome this debate and the Prime Minister’s commitment to increased spending in this area. I also take note of, and agree with, the slight fear and concern of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, that some of the money for this important work will be taken out of what ought to be spent on the relief of poverty and direct aid.
Three weeks ago I was in Israel, leading a pilgrimage looking at many of the sites mentioned in the Bible. One thing I came across that I had not seen there before but which was pointed out to me by various people was the fallow field—fields kept idle for a year to let the earth rest. I learned in geography lessons in my state county primary school around 1960 or 1961 that it was an important principle not only to rotate crops but to let the earth rest—in other words, not to squeeze everything out of it. I later discovered that this is part of the biblical teaching about the sabbath: not just that people and animals are to rest but that the earth also needs rest and recreation. That is why some farmers in Israel still practise that principle.
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On 3rd April 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on tensions between Rwanda and Uganda.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the rising tensions between Rwanda and Uganda; and what steps they have taken to reduce tensions.
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On 13th February 2019 the Bishop of Durham received a written answer to a question on relations between Rwanda and Burundi:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of tensions between Rwanda and Burundi; and what steps they plan to take in response. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about tensions between Rwanda and Burundi”
On 12th December 2016 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question he had asked on food aid to Rwanda:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to provide food aid to those affected by the drought in Eastern Rwanda. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about food aid for Rwanda”
On 10th October 2016 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received written answers to four questions on aid to Rwanda and Burundi:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what contingency plans are in place to provide humanitarian aid in the event of a poor harvest in Burundi. [HL1693] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about aid to Burundi and Rwanda”