Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech at Global Disability Summit

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 24 July 2018.

It is wonderful to have you all here today, especially you your Excellency and the first lady of Ecuador. Here at the London Olympic Park – host to the world’s largest Paralympic Games in 2012 and the spiritual birthplace of the first-ever organised sporting event for disabled athletes in 1948.

I am delighted to be here today co-hosting this event with Government of Kenya and International Disability Alliance.

Thank you all for joining us today – and in particular, thanks to the Disabled Person’s Organisations and people with disabilities, who have led this Summit from conception to delivery.

Today, we have come together to work as partners and collectively step-up our efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world.

We are here to tackle the root causes of stigma, discrimination and abuse; to work towards inclusive education and employment for all. And to harness the power of technology, innovation and assistive devices for people with disabilities across the world.

Today we focus on moving from words to action; working together as partners; and holding ourselves and each other to account for our promises.

We are all starting from a low base – and the UK recognises we also have work to do as well and that is why today we will launch a range of dedicated policy and programming to champion the rights of the most marginalised and vulnerable people with disabilities.

We will launch ‘AT Scale’, a partnership for assistive technology (with partners such as USAID, WHO, UNICEF and GDI Hub) to transform access and affordability for life-changing Assistive Technology (AT) such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids and glasses.

Access to AT is a critical enabler for inclusive education, economic empowerment and participation in communities. But at present only 10% of the 1 billion people in the world who need assistive products and services have access to them.

Our ambition is that 500m people globally will be being reached by essential assistive technology by 2030.

We are launching a DFID Scale Up on Inclusive Education – with a new education policy that has a clear promise for the most disadvantaged children. Through strengthening education programming; we commit to support countries including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Pakistan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Jordan.

In Ethiopia, we will transform and develop 687 Inclusive Education Resource Centres (IERCs) nationwide by 2022 to promote the inclusion of 24,000 children with disabilities.

In Rwanda, we will train 12,000 teachers of English and Maths in inclusive education teaching methods.

In Tanzania, we will support important reforms in primary and lower secondary schools to improve learning outcomes for all children particularly for girls and children with disabilities.

We are also launching the Disability Inclusive Development Programme – a new six-year cutting-edge innovation and scale-up programme to find out what works, for whom, when and why.

Through a ground-breaking consortium, led by Sightsavers, several UK International NGOs and Summit co-hosts, International Disability Alliance, the programme will deliver tangible outcomes to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

This includes improved educational attainment and health outcomes, jobs and livelihoods and reduced stigma and discrimination.

By 2024 we aim to enable up to 100,000 women, men, girls and boys with disabilities to access health services; up to 45,000 people with disabilities to increase their incomes; 10,000 children with disabilities to go to school and access education as well as reaching millions of people through interventions to tackle stigma and discrimination.

We are also committed to a DFID scale up on disability inclusion over the next 5 years and we will be publishing a new disability framework later this year, setting out how we would put disability at the heart of our work. And the legacy today will be a ten point Charter for Change which I would like us all to sign up to. This plan for action will be published and fully accessible. Progress will be monitored regularly and we will all be held accountable for our pledges. Empowering people with disabilities does not just affect the individuals – it leads to better decisions and more effective outcomes for communities, for nations and for the world.

Unless every one of our citizens can reach their full potential our nations never will. Let today be the start of our journey.

Now is the time.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Statement on Sexual Exploitation in the Aid Sector

Below is the text of the statement made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, in the House of Commons on 17 May 2018.

Following the written ministerial statement of 20 March, Official Report, column 11WS, ​I am updating the House on what the Department for International Development (DFID) is doing to protect recipients of UK aid and those working in the sector from harm—safeguarding for short—with our focus on preventing and responding to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.

Ensuring DFID’s programmes meet the highest standards

Around 60% of DFID’s funding is delivered through multilateral organisations. On 21 April I co-hosted with the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation a roundtable with senior representatives of international financial institutions—I am placing the list of names in an annex to this document in the Libraries of both Houses—and discussed how we can pool best practice and resources to tackle this issue across the sector. All 10 institutions signed a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to preventing sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation, both within their own institutions and their operations, many of which are funded by DFID. I will be pressing for them to translate this commitment into further concrete actions in 2018.

From my recent meetings in Washington it is clear that multilateral organisations are taking this issue extremely seriously and looking to learn from previous cases and improve their systems and processes. For example, the World Bank has strengthened its staff rules covering sexual misconduct and abuse and is rolling out staff training and a wider review of its human resources policies with respect to sexual harassment and exploitation.

The UN Secretary-General has made clear his zero tolerance approach to both sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. In the past two weeks I have discussed safeguarding with the heads of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. At the UN system chief executives board meeting in London earlier in May, Secretary-General António Guterres led a special session with the heads of 31 UN agencies, funds and programmes on addressing sexual harassment within the UN system. This included a new 24-hour helpline for staff to report harassment and access support, so fast-tracking complaints. I am pressing for agreement to a consistent UN-wide approach on reporting, investigation and outreach, and support when cases of sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment occur.

I am also pressing all organisations that DFID funds to learn from best and worst practice. Last month Save the Children UK withdrew from bidding for new UK Government funding while it looks to learn lessons and the Charity Commission carries out a statutory inquiry into its handling of internal cases.

Following my letter to DFID partners seeking assurances on their safeguarding policies and procedures, I have now received responses from our top suppliers, multilateral partners, development capital partners and research partners. This is a total of 283 organisations. I will publish a high-level summary of the returns on later this month updating the information published on 20 March on the 179 charities directly receiving UK aid. I am including the link to that document in an annex to this document in the Libraries of both Houses.

Following the 5 March summit organised by DFID and the Charity Commission, DFID has convened four NGO working groups and an external experts group to ​develop concrete ideas. I met representatives of the working groups and the experts this week to discuss which of their initial proposals could make the biggest difference. The work is focusing on:

accountability to beneficiaries and survivors—prioritising those who have suffered and survived exploitation, abuse and violence, and designing systems of accountability and transparency that have beneficiaries at their centre;

how the aid sector can demonstrate a step change in shifting organisational culture to tackle power imbalances and gender inequality;

ensuring that safeguards are integrated throughout the employment cycle, including work on the proposal for a global register/passport; and

providing full accountability through rigorous reporting and complaints mechanisms, and ensuring that concerns are heard and acted on.

Ensuring all UK aid meets the highest standards

On 28 March I chaired a meeting of UK Government Departments that spend official development assistance (ODA). I updated Ministers on DFID’s work including the new safeguarding due diligence standards which I announced in March. Following a successful pilot, the new process will be rolled out to other programmes later this month. DFID will write to all other UK ODA spending departments with the details should they wish to adopt the same approach.

This month senior DFID officials have held further meetings with opposite numbers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office and the Charity Commission to discuss how we can raise our own performances on safeguarding and that of others in the aid sector.

I am in contact with the Ministry of Defence about pre-deployment training for peacekeeping operations, and DFID’s HR director has been working with colleagues across Whitehall to drive up internal HR standards.

Working with other donors to drive up standards

The Department is working closely with Canada as G7 presidency and at a meeting of G7 Development Ministers at the end of May I have been asked to lead a discussion on sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.

DFID is now chairing monthly meetings of a group of 15 donors—I am placing the list of names in the Libraries of both Houses—to seek collective action including in our key implementing partners.

DFID is also working with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to explore how to measure donors’ performance on sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment as part regular peer reviews. I plan to write to all DAC donors, observers and other major donors updating them on our work and seeking their suggestions.

The UK is leading the change needed on this issue. We have made good progress since March and I will use every opportunity possible in the coming weeks and months to push for much more. I will host an international conference in London on 18 October.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech on Syria

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, in the House of Commons on 30 April 2018.

Let me take this opportunity to put on record that the aid workers who have been attacked in south Sudan are very much in our thoughts. Aid workers should never be a target, and I am sure that the whole House will want to send our good wishes to them and their families at this difficult time.

I want to update the House on the United Kingdom’s support for the people of Syria. I am keenly aware that Members are deeply concerned about the level of suffering experienced by millions of Syrians. The United Kingdom has shown, and will continue to show, leadership in the international humanitarian response.

In the eighth year of the conflict, the plight of the Syrian people remains grave. The Syrian regime appears to have no intention of ending the suffering of its own people, although the opposition have placed no conditions on peace negotiations. The barbaric attack in Douma on innocent civilians, including young children, was yet another example of the regime’s disregard for its responsibility to protect civilians. Some may seek to cast doubt over the attack and who was responsible for it, but intelligence and first-hand accounts from non-governmental organisations and aid workers are clear. The World Health Organisation received reports that hundreds of patients had arrived at Syrian heath facilities on the night of 7 April with

“signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.”

Regime helicopters were seen over Douma on that evening, and the opposition do not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs.

Assad and his backers—Russia and Iran—will attempt to block every diplomatic effort to hold the regime accountable for these reprehensible and illegal tactics. That was why the United Kingdom, together with our United States and French allies, took co-ordinated, limited and targeted action against the regime’s chemical weapons capabilities to alleviate humanitarian suffering. Britain is clear: we will defend the global rules-based system that keeps us all safe. I welcome the support that we have received from Members and from the international community. We will work with the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to create a new independent mechanism to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks. We will work with France on the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, and we will work with the EU to establish a new sanctions regime against those responsible for chemical weapons use.

In wielding its UN veto 12 times, Russia has given a green light to Assad to perpetrate human rights atrocities against his own people. This is a regime that has used nearly 70,000 barrel bombs on civilian targets; a regime that tries to starve its people into submission, although the UN Security Council has called for unhindered humanitarian access; a regime that has continued to obstruct aid to eastern Ghouta and removes medical supplies from the rare aid convoys that do get in; a regime that deploys rape as a weapon of war, with nearly eight out of 10 people detained by it reported to have suffered sexual violence; and a regime that deliberately bombs schools and hospitals, and targets aid workers and emergency responders as they race to the scene to help.

We must support the innocent victims of these atrocities. All warring parties must comply with the Geneva conventions on the protected status of civilians and other non-combatants. There must be an immediate ceasefire, and safe access for aid workers and medical staff to do their jobs.

We also want to adapt what we do to the new reality of this war. That is why I have announced the new creating hope in conflict fund with USAID, to work with the private sector to find new technology to save lives in conflict zones. Britain will establish a humanitarian innovation hub to develop new capabilities to hinder regimes that appear determined to slay innocent men, women and children.

Our aid has made a difference. Despite the horrific violence meted out by Assad, we have been able to prevent mass starvation and large-scale outbreaks of disease. When we are able to reach the people who need our help, our aid works. We are the second largest bilateral donor to the humanitarian response in Syria. Since 2012, our support has provided over 22 million monthly food rations, almost 10 million medical consultations, and over 9 million relief packages. But the suffering continues. Some 13.1 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Over half of Syria’s population has been displaced by violence, with nearly 6 million seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. In north-west Syria, an intensification of hostilities and the arrival of an additional 60,000 people from eastern Ghouta is stretching scarce resources. Today, 65% of the population of Idlib—over 1.2 million people—have been forced from their homes.

At last week’s conference I announced that the UK will provide at least £450 million this year, and £300 million next year, to alleviate extreme suffering in Syria and to provide vital support in neighbouring countries. This will be in addition to our support for the second EU facility for refugees in Turkey. We have now committed £2.71 billion since 2012, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.

Our pledge will help to keep medical facilities open to save lives. We will deploy protective equipment to keep medics and rescue workers safe. We will deploy antidote stocks to treat any further victims of chemical weapons. We will train doctors and nurses to treat trauma wounds. We will focus on education, making sure that every child in the region has access to quality education even in the most trying circumstances, on steps to protect civilians, and on ensuring that those responsible for attacks face justice.

We will help to support the millions of Syrian refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries. Our friends in the region—Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in particular—continue to demonstrate extraordinary generosity by opening their doors to millions fleeing the conflict in Syria. We must continue to offer them our fullest support. Last week I also announced that the UK will host an international conference with Jordan in London later this year. It will showcase Jordan’s economic reform plans and aspiration to build a thriving private sector, and mobilise international investment.

There are refugees who cannot be supported in the region: people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk of exploitation. We will work closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to identify those most at risk and bring them to the UK. We are helping but, with Russia’s support, Assad continues to bomb his own people, and that is why so many continue to die and so many have fled their homes.

There can be no military solution to the Syrian civil war. As UN special representative Staffan de Mistura said in Brussels last week, the Assad regime risks a pyrrhic victory unless it and its backers engage in a genuine political process. Only this can deliver reconciliation and the restoration of Syria as a prosperous, secure and stable state. The UK will continue to support the efforts of the UN, under the Geneva process, to this end.

The obstacles remain serious. The regime has shown no inclination to engage seriously so far, and the Security Council remains divided. But the international community cannot, and should not, resign itself to failure. The costs for Syria, for the region, and for the wider international rules-based system are too great. The Foreign Secretary was in Paris last Thursday to discuss with key partners how we should intensify our efforts to bring this conflict, and its causes, to an end. While we actively work to find a political solution, the UK will continue to stand alongside the people of Syria and the region to do what we can to alleviate human suffering, and to demand immediate access for aid workers to all those who need our help. I commend this statement to the House.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Statement on Syria and the Brussels Conference

Below is the text of the statement made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, in the House of Commons on 27 April 2018.

The Syrian regime’s continued and systematic blatant disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law has resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. Medical facilities, schools and aid workers appear to have been deliberately targeted, aid has been blocked to starve communities into submission, and rape and sexual violence have been deployed as routine weapons of war.

13.1 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, including 5.6 million with acute needs. In addition, over half of Syria’s population has been displaced by the violence, with 5.6 million seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

Since the conflict began seven years ago, the UK has been at the forefront of the international response. We are the second largest bilateral donor to the crisis. Our support to Syria and the region since 2012 has provided humanitarian assistance to 17 million people, including over 27,000,000 monthly food rations and over 10,000,000 vaccines, and helped over 7.1 million children gain a decent education.

But now, in the eighth year of the conflict, the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people remain as grave as they have ever been. It is clear that the regime has no intention of ending its people’s suffering. The barbaric chemical weapons attack in Douma on innocent civilians, including young children, was yet another example of the regime’s flagrant disregard for its responsibility to protect civilians.

We must not turn our backs on their suffering. That is why at this week’s Brussels conference for Syria and the region, I announced that the UK will provide at least £450 million this year, and £300 million next year ​to alleviate the extreme suffering in Syria and provide vital support in neighbouring countries. We have now committed £2.71 billion to the Syria crisis since 2012, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.

Our pledge will help keep medical facilities open so doctors and nurses can save lives, and will help support the millions of Syrian refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries.

Our friends in the region, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in particular, continue to demonstrate extraordinary generosity in opening their doors and communities to millions fleeing the conflict in Syria.

We must continue to offer them our fullest support. Not least because as the trajectory of the Syrian war has worsened, our collective interests in a stable and prosperous region have increased. Jordan’s resilience and prosperity are critical to the long-run interests of the region. That is why, in addition to the support to the region provided in our pledge, I announced that the UK will host an international conference with Jordan in London later this year: to showcase Jordan’s economic reform plans, its aspiration to build/enable a thriving private sector, and to mobilise support from international investors and donors.

But money alone is not enough. We continue to support the UN-mediated process as the surest path to peace. But while we work towards a political solution in the future that can end this suffering once and for all, we must not give up on improving conditions in the present. In this spirit, I called upon those present at the conference to join the UK in calling for concrete actions to enable greater protection for civilians and aid workers now. That means an immediate ceasefire and immediate safe access so that brave aid workers and medical staff can do their jobs and help the most vulnerable and the most desperate without fear of attack.

The UK is a global leader within the Syria response. I am proud that at this week’s conference, we demonstrated clearly that we will not turn away from the suffering of the Syrian people—we will continue to lead the response in working with others to call out atrocities, mobilise funding, demand access for aid, protect civilians and ultimately, work towards a solution that can put Syria on a path to peace.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech on the Future of Syria

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 25 April 2018.

Thank you. And I would like to thank the European Union and the United Nations for hosting today’s conference and for being here at this crucial time for the Syrian people.

This time last year my colleague, the Foreign Secretary, began his address by condemning a horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians in Syria.

Today, I must once again begin by condemning another barbaric chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians, including young children, in Douma.

It is clear the Syrian Regime has the capability and the intent to use chemical weapons against own people.

It is also clear the Syrian Regime and its backers, Russia and Iran, will attempt to block every diplomatic effort to hold the Regime accountable for these reprehensible and illegal tactics.

That is why the United Kingdom, together with our US and French allies took co-ordinated, limited and targeted action against the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons’ capabilities to alleviate humanitarian suffering.

Britain is clear that we must defend the global rules based system that keeps all of us safe. And I welcome the broad support we have had from the international community and at today’s conference.

Russia’s disregard for international norms and laws poses a grave threat to the global order we all rely on for our collective security.

In wielding its UN veto twelve times on Syria, Russia has given a green flag to Assad to perpetrate human rights atrocities against his own people.

This is a Regime that has deliberately bombed schools and hospitals.

A Regime that has used nearly seventy thousand barrel bombs, many on civilian targets.

This is a Regime that tries to starve its people into submission and targets aid workers and emergency responders racing to the scene to help.

And let us not forget. This is a Regime that deploys rape as a weapon of war.

Nearly eight out of ten people detained by the Regime have reported suffering sexual violence.

We are here to address the urgent humanitarian needs in Syria and the wider region, but the only solution to end the suffering is a political settlement that brings peace.

And that is why the UK will continue to support the UN-mediated process as the surest path to peace.

We commend the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission for signalling their readiness for peace and direct talks with the Regime – without pre-conditions.

We call on Russia and Iran to use their influence to bring the Syrian Regime to the negotiating table.

The longer the delay, the more people are going to die, and the more misery and destruction will be inflicted on Syria.

Until that happens, we must keep pushing for greater humanitarian support to help civilians in Syria and Syrian refugees in the region.

I am pleased to see our partners, in particular the US, Germany, France, Norway and the European Union, building on the commitments we made at the London Syria conference.

And I must pay tribute to the sacrifice and contribution of our friends in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as the heroic efforts of ordinary Syrians to save lives in the most horrific circumstances imaginable.

As the trajectory of the Syrian war has worsened – our collective interests in a stable and prosperous region has increased. Jordan’s resilience and prosperity are critical to the long-run interests of the region.

And that is why the UK will host an international conference with Jordan in London later this year: to showcase Jordan’s economic reform plans, its aspiration to build and enable a thriving private sector, and to mobilise support from international investors and donors.

We have seen great generosity over the past seven years, but now is not the time to turn our backs. The humanitarian needs of the Syrian people are as grave now as they have ever been.

The UK has already committed two point four six billion (pounds) to the Syria crisis.

And today we will commit to spend four hundred and fifty million (pounds) in 2018 and three hundred million (pounds) in 2019. This will be in addition to our support for the second EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

However, the UK has been clear that we will not provide reconstruction assistance until a credible transition is underway. To do otherwise would run the risk of bolstering the Regime and its barbarity.

But today can’t only be about pledges of money, we must see concrete actions, which will lead to greater protection for civilians and aid workers.

Because, as we speak, starving people are being denied aid by a Regime, which refuses to recognise international humanitarian law and because civilians, including aid workers and frontline responders, are under attack.

Syria is now one of the most dangerous places on earth for aid workers and medical staff. Not only are their supplies and equipment blocked, but they face being targeted themselves in “double tap” bomb attacks by a Regime, which defies every rule of war.

The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations reported that five hospitals were bombed, and put out of service, in the space of twenty-four hours in Eastern Ghouta in February.

The victims were patients and medics.

We must support these innocent victims.

And that is why the British Government is demanding that all warring parties comply with the Geneva Conventions on the protected status of civilians and other non-combatants.

We’re calling for an immediate ceasefire and immediate safe access so that brave aid workers and medical staff can do their jobs and help the most vulnerable and the most desperate without fear of attack.

Let us protect the people of Syria, and the people there to help, as we work together to put Syria on a path towards peace.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech on Education in Syria

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 25 April 2018.

Thank you all and‎ I’d like to start by thanking our friends in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The progress we have made since the London Syria Conference in 2016 to ensure that every child in the region has access to quality education is a reason for hope even in the most trying of circumstances.

More than a million displaced Syrian children now have received access to some form of education since the start of the conflict eight years ago.

In Jordan, a hundred and sixty-five thousand Syrian children are now in education after the Jordanian Government overhauled national education policies.

In Lebanon, the public education system has doubled in size since the start of conflict, and as a result more than three hundred and sixty-five thousand Syrian children are now receiving an education.

And in Turkey. More than six hundred thousand Syrian children are now learning in schools.

The education these children are receiving is helping us build the skills and knowledge needed to power the economies of tomorrow.

However, there are nearly six hundred and ninety thousand children in the region without access to any education.

And we need to work together to reach these children or we risk creating a ‘Lost Generation.’

Young people without prospects and without hope. Young people who have a critical role to play in the recovery and rebuilding of the region when peace does eventually come.

As we strive to find a political settlement to the conflict, we must also strive to equip young people with the education they need to find employment.

Currently, the region has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment and lowest rates of female labour market participation.

By helping host countries invest and improve their education systems we can help young men and women transform their economies and spur economic growth across the region.

And this mean donors working with governments to make better use of education data to create better teaching programmes to drive up teaching standards.

And donors making more multi-year pledges. With predictable financing we can create long-term, sustainable programmes that deliver results.

But it’s not just more funding but smarter funding that we need.

Funding has to be linked to results and reforms. It must be able to measure progress and see which programmes work and which programmes need to work harder.

The UK will continue to provide long-term, multi-year support to the region to create the education and employment opportunities that will spur the recovery we all want to see.

But as we do so, we must not forget those most at risk from being left behind.

We must ensure that all our efforts to spur economic development also include refugees and the most vulnerable.

That includes –

Working and undocumented children.


And children with disabilities.

This July we will also co-host an international Disability Summit in London, which we hope Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, will attend.

At the summit we will set forth a set of concrete steps to ensure that people with disabilities are given the opportunities to fulfil their potential wherever they are in the world.

Sadly, many Syrian children are living with injuries sustained in the conflict. And it would be an added penalty – and an injustice – if they are now denied the education opportunities we seek to provide other children.

We must ensure that every child in the region has equal access to a quality education and the opportunity to fulfil their potential so we can create the economies of tomorrow, and a future of peace and prosperity.

Thank you.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech on Gender Equality

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 7 March 2018.

Why are we here today? Why are you here today?

What made you get involved in your respective organisations?

What made you want to help? To change things, to make the world a better place?

Perhaps I should also ask you what made you endure? What made you expose yourself to abuse or ridicule? To overcome fear, to stand up to thugs or threats, or be sassy on social media?

What made you wake up to this cause? What makes the British people donate so generously or volunteer?

Maybe it’s that they are angry, or that you are angry at injustice?

At girls being denied an education? Angry that half of the women in the world have experienced physical or sexual violence?

Or that in some conflict zones, that rises to almost all women?

Or that 12 year olds are being forced to marry? Or that young teenagers are becoming mothers or dying in the process?

Angry because in 18 countries women still need permission from a man to have a job?

Angry that many who do work often take home less money for the same work?

And that millions of girls around the world, and 24,000 here in the UK are at risk from FGM?

Or maybe you are angry at how you have been treated in the past?

Some of you might be concerned. Concerned that as last year’s news brought from the World Economic Forum on gender pay gap report. That found that the gender gap is widening for the first time in decades.

Or maybe you are concerned that the Me Too movement is just restricted to the developed world?

Or maybe you are frustrated at all that talent and potential wasted?

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that equality in the job market would yield add an extra £20 trillion to global GDP by 2025.

But what can’t be measured is the lost ideas, the dreams never realised, the businesses never built, the opportunities missed.

Maybe you are exasperated that we stand no chance of meeting any of the Global Goals unless we address gender equality.

Some of you might be hopeful, I know I am.

When we include women great things happen. When we negotiate peace treaties they are a one third more likely to work. When we serve in services or in the armed forces, these organisations become so much more effective.

Whatever your reasons for being here today, I think perhaps there is one motive which unites us all – and that is love.

Love of humanity, and our love of women around the world. A love of freedom, the freedom for every individual around the world to reach their full potential. And of faith, that every human being matters and that every human being can make a difference.

Whether they are aid workers, charity workers, trustees, governors, academics, teachers, doctors, soldiers, entrepreneurs, artists or mothers, I see love as the motivation for so many trying to make the world a better place.

And politicians too. In Parliaments, in peace councils, in village councils. And in Westminster too. Love.

Love is my lasting impression of Jo Cox. Jo and I sat on different sides of the house but we were frequent correspondents. We scribbled hand written notes to each other very frequently.

She was an opposition back bencher and I was Minister of State for the Armed Forces. But we were trying together to build a coalition across the house on Syria.

I treasure her letters.

She was angry, she was frustrated, she was hopeful. And she burned with a love, passion and empathy for those caught up in a brutal conflict.

And that love and her determination now echo in the work of her memorial fund.

I am pleased to help that work today by announcing £10 million of new funding in Jo’s memory.

Jo’s sister Kim will tell you more about social, economic and political empowerment work of the Jo Cox Memorial Fund.

And it is doing that by ensuring that women are leading that work, and making the decisions that impact their lives.

In addition, we will support the Jo Cox Memorial Fund in its work to strengthen civil society organisations, to prevent and protect civilians from mass atrocities.

As part of our new strategic vision, we are pledging £6 million over four years to the UN Data Programme, making every woman and girl count.

Through this we will be able to accurately understand the needs of women and girls, the challenges they face and monitor how much progress we are making.

We are also today announcing new support through UK Aid Match, to tackle violence against women and girls in Kenya. And we are launching a new shared approach across the UK Government to gender in Syria.

This will bring our existing commitment from tackling violence, to empowering women, to engage in the political process together. And mean that the British government places women and girls at the heart of our efforts to bring an end to conflict and bring forth a peace which includes everyone.

We are launching a new call to action today through our new plan. This is a call to action for everyone, recognising that we all need to take action in everything we do, if gender equality is to become a lasting reality.

If we succeed, girls, women, men and boys across the globe will be equal, empowered and safe.

And countries will enjoy prosperity, peace and stability.

We need to challenge and change unequal power relations between men and women. We need to build the interlinked foundations which will have a transformational impact for girls and women.

We need to protect and empower girls and women in conflict, protracted crises and humanitarian emergencies.

We must leave no girl or woman behind.

We need to integrate gender equality in all our work across the board, and track delivery through results on jobs, on trade, tax systems in the world economy, new technologies, modern slavery, climate change, nutrition, tackling AIDS, infrastructure and peace agreements.

We need to work across girls and women’s life cycles, on multiple areas simultaneously, with particular attention of adolescents.

We need to build evidence and disaggregate data. And we need to make that information publically available.

Today, we are doing a very untypical female thing. We are going to be asking for more.

Because without more we will fail the world.

Women’s empowerment, women’s rights, women’s talents and gifts are the entire margin of victory in the fight for prosperity, security and peace.

Without gender equality, we will never achieve any of the global goals.

A century ago, Emmeline Pankhurst said that “women have always fought for men and their children, but now they were prepared to fight for their own rights”.

Today, we must recognise they are the same thing. Without women’s rights, there are no human rights. Her potential is our future.

Whatever your motives, thank you for being here.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech on Somali

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 6 March 2018.

I’m delighted to welcome you here today and in particular to His Excellency, Mr Gamal Hassan, the Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development of the Federal Republic of Somalia today and our other distinguished guests. I’d also like to thank Mark Lowcock for initiating this meeting, and for all the work his team has done with my officials to bring us all together today.

I am proud of the UK’s partnership with Somalia. This time last year, Somalia was on the brink of disaster and we realised that we had to step up. Together we have averted a famine and saved thousands of lives.

Last year’s response was an important success story, both for Somalia and for the international humanitarian system. But the job is not finished yet. The humanitarian situation remains a major cause for concern, and the famine risk remains high.

We need to sustain and build on our humanitarian response to ensure that we meet the most immediate and urgent needs. Alongside this, we also need to recognise the need for long-lasting solutions to break the cycle of this crisis. That is why we have called this meeting today.

My Department, and the UK Government, remain committed to working with the Somali authorities, local and international NGOs, UN agencies, and new partners who can help us reach the 5.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance after some of the worst droughts on record.

In January I visited Mogadishu and saw first-hand the lifesaving work we are doing together, and I also announced £21 million in UK funding towards the 2018 humanitarian response.

Today, I’m pleased to confirm a further commitment, bringing our total contribution to £86 million. This includes £24.6 million from the UK Crisis Reserve, which helps us respond to emergency situations. I’m pleased to confirm that £46 million of this will be released before the end of this month, to ensure that funds are available to support early action and intervention. And I would like to thank all of you for your continued support to Somalia and encourage you to step up to the challenge in 2018 as we try and avert a potential famine.

I hope that this meeting will serve to encourage all of us to sustain our efforts to continue to tackle the drought, and ensure that the famine we helped to prevent last year does not happen again instead, to ensure that funds are available to support early action and intervention. I would like to thank everyone for your continued support.

I know that the spring rains will be critical in determining how severe the situation becomes this year. But even if the rains are good, humanitarian needs will still remain high. That is why I have asked my officials to keep me updated. As the year unfolds we will consider if additional UK resources are required.

As we join together to meet the challenges ahead, we must also ensure that we deliver against the Grand Bargain commitments that we all signed up to.

We must do better at including the most marginalised Somalis and ensuring that we protect the most vulnerable – women and girls and disabled people in particular. This means ensuring that aid is able to reach conflict-affected areas. And I call on the Somali authorities, and international partners, to do all they can to ensure that access for humanitarian aid is not restricted.

And we must also look forward and beyond the current situation. Drought need not turn into widespread food insecurity and famine. It is vitally important that we balance both the short and long term needs of vulnerable Somalis, and make sure there are stronger links between our humanitarian and development work so we can build resilience and the ability to cope with future shocks. As Somalia’s government makes progress in addressing insecurity, rebuilding its institutions, and creating economic opportunities for its citizens, we will be better placed to break this persistent cycle of crisis.

And having recently visited, I am optimistic about the future.

Long term solutions require stability and a real commitment from Somalia itself. We have seen that we can work together to stave off disaster. We are also seeing growing evidence that Somalia is heading towards a future where it can better take care of its own needs, including making good progress on its re-engagement with the IMF and the development banks and raising its own revenue.

This is why the UK government will continue to play an active role in supporting Somalia to meet all these objectives, including helping develop new ideas for economic recovery and continuing the progress being made towards re-engagement with the international financial system.

I wish you a very fruitful meeting today and I thank you again for your continued commitment to Somalia.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech at Bond Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 26 February 2018.

We’ve just 12 years left to fulfil our promise to the world’s poorest, and the commitment so central to the Global Goals – to Leave No One Behind.

We set ourselves the task that by 2030 every child will have the chance of a decent education, but we are 85 years adrift on current projections – not set to achieve that until 2115.

That is better though than our current assessment on when we will end malnutrition – we are looking at least a century before delivering that.

And we’ll be well into two centuries hence before we do make extreme poverty history.

You know that on current trajectories, achieving the Global Goals – which we talk about and show our commitment to in the pin badges we wear – is simply out of reach.

We’ve known for some time we are failing.

The facts speak for themselves – and the many we are letting down.

If we want those facts to change we have to change what we do.

To deliver on the promises we’ve made to the world’s poorest, business as usual isn’t going to cut it.

And to understand how we need to change we need to understand why the world, and we as a sector, are falling short.

Let us reflect for a moment on the issue currently dominating the headlines: sexual exploitation of the vulnerable, known by some, ignored by others.

How did we get to this?

How did those, there to protect, support and serve the most vulnerable people on earth, become complicit in their exploitation – by protecting the perpetrators, by failing to grip the problem or turning a blind eye?

Because we failed to put the beneficiaries of aid first.

How did we lose sight of that fundamental duty, for all the good people, many in this room today, and all the good works done? For be in no doubt that is what has happened.

It may have started with an attitude born of fundraising pressures, fierce competition for bids or work, guarding an organisation’s reputation to maximise its reach and offer.

That attitude found a justification, via the chaotic and complex situations we operate in, the belief that reporting wrongdoing would do more harm than good, that we’ve so many other things to worry about, or that peacekeeping troops are doing far worse.

And then any nagging doubts that lingered, as predatory individuals moved to another organisation’s payroll, were banished, in order to avoid any criticism of the sector.

Maybe that’s how it happened. Maybe.

However it did, the result was the grotesque fact of aid workers sexually exploiting the most vulnerable people, and threatening whistle-blowers if they protested.

In our respective walks of life – in aid and in politics – we have difficult choices to make, some of life and death: Who to help. Who to save. Who to rescue. How to do the most good. How to do the least harm.

But on some issues there is no choice.

You cannot help and support people, you cannot give them hope and a chance, you cannot promote human rights or the dignity of every human being – whilst paying them for sex, and whilst funding an industry that exploits them.

So why do we find ourselves here?

We find ourselves here for the same reasons we find ourselves so far from delivering the Global Goals.

Because we’ve forgotten three things: The needs of those we are here to serve. The expectations of those who enable us to – the British people. And the values that make us who we are.

To recover we must put the beneficiaries of aid first.

We must live up to the values of our nation.

And as a sector, as well as a “to do list” we also need to have a “to be list”.

We cannot separate the aid this nation gives from the values this nation has. So, how will those principles and values help us deliver the goals?

First, they will improve our performance.

I’ve seen great things from organisations when they put aside concerns about information and knowledge sharing, Intellectual Property ownership – stop competing and start collaborating.

In Somalia, by putting beneficiaries first, sharing data and working together, aid organisations have staved off famine.

In Kenya, I’ve seen technological innovation IP shared to utterly transform options for communities to become more resilient.

And I’ve seen so many nations, frustrated at a humanitarian system which if it worked better would give us a billion more to spend on helping people, start to come together to speed up the pace of reform.

Second, it will enable others to help.

I’ve seen entrepreneurs forfeiting profit and their own security to bring water, healthcare and childcare to their workforce.

Major companies wanting to make this their mission.

Small community organisations and businesses connecting with and supporting those in the developing world.

And I’ve seen the courage and commitment of our armed forces opening up the space for us to operate in.

We need the humility to recognise what others can bring will multiply our efforts. And we need to let many others help.

Third, it is a necessary condition of the British public’s support – and their support is a necessary condition of our work.

I’ve seen the poorest in our own nation giving generously to others less fortunate than themselves, time after time – whether it’s in DEC appeals, or in Oxfam’s shops.

They’ve seen Ebola defeated, girls educated, hurricane victims rescued, polio near eradicated, and hope and help brought to Syria’s hell on earth, by individuals risking everything, everything, for the love of humanity.

They continue to give, but I can tell you on many fronts they want us to raise our game: on what you do, on what I fund, and what together we can achieve.

And finally, we must live our values because what you do, what Britain’s aid sector does, is more than satisfy the practical needs of life.

In addition to food, water and shelter we bring the rule of law, security, justice.

We bring protection for refugees and human rights.

We bring freedom – of thought, of religion, of scrutiny, of the press.

We bring empowerment – of women, of people with disabilities, of children.

Without us bringing our values to work, we will fail in that work.

So, let this moment not just be a wake-up call to improve safeguarding.

Let it also be a wake-up call to all that we must be, if we are to deliver on our promise to the world’s poor.

I will shortly bring forward a new development offer focussed on delivering the Global Goals.

It will require others to help.

It will require us to change where we work and who we work with, and greater cooperation between DFID and our armed forces.

It will depend on the private sector.

It will require more sharing of data and working together.

It will compel us to leave no one behind.

It will make UK aid work harder – delivering for the world’s poor, but also for the UK’s security and prosperity, upon which UK aid depends.

It will require me to stop funding organisation that do not deliver our objectives, contribute to the Goals, or live up to our standards.

It will have our national values and freedom at its heart.

It will require leadership and courage to deliver.

And it will put our beneficiaries first.

They are the 10 million more children who will see their 5th birthday. The 81 million who will have enough food to develop normally. And the 400 million more able to read and write. If we do deliver the Global Goals by 2030.

In my first week in this job I told you that I believe in aid.

And I’ve not changed my mind.

And I believe in you, in why you chose this career, in why you are here today.

The organisations in this room do great work. I know that. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

All the vital work that Bond members, organisations of all sizes, from small to large, do each and every day. Passionate, committed, tireless individuals doing amazing work, in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

I believe in British compassion and charity. From the Magna Carta to universal suffrage, from William Wilberforce to Peter Benenson to Leonard Cheshire – as a nation we can and we have made the world a better place.

Since the Oxfam scandal broke, you and UK aid have helped vaccinate around 1.5 million children from polio.

That’s heroic.

But if we have the courage and the will to change we can do more.

And we must.

We know what to do.

We know what to be.

So let’s get to it.

Thank you.

Penny Mordaunt – 2018 Speech on Safeguarding in the Aid Sector

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, in the House of Commons on 20 February 2018.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on my Department’s response to the sexual abuse and exploitation perpetrated by charity workers in Haiti in 2011, and the measures we are taking to improve safeguarding across the aid sector.

I’d like to start by paying tribute to Sean O’Neill of The Times and the two sets of whistleblowers – those in 2011 and later – for bringing this case to light.

On February ninth, The Times reported that certain Oxfam staff when in Haiti in 2011 had abused their positions of trust and paid for sex with local women. These incidents happened in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2010, which killed hundreds of thousands of people and left millions more homeless and reliant on aid for basic needs such as food and shelter.

This is shocking, but it is not by itself what has caused such concern about Oxfam’s safeguarding. It was what Oxfam did next.

In chaotic and desperate situations the very best safeguarding procedures and practices must be put in to place to prevent harm, but when organisations fail to report and follow up incidents of wrongdoing that occur, it undermines trust and sends a message that sexual exploitation and abuse is tolerated. We cannot prevent sexual exploitation and abuse if we don’t demonstrate zero tolerance.

In such circumstances we must be able to trust organisations not only to do all they can to prevent harm, but to report and follow up incidents of wrongdoing when they occur.

In this duty Oxfam failed under the watch of Barbara Stocking and Penny Lawrence.

They did not provide a full report to the Charity Commission. They did not provide a full report to their donors. They did not provide any report to prosecuting authorities.

In my view Mr Speaker they misled, quite possibly deliberately. Even as their report concluded that their investigation could not rule out the allegation that some of the women involved were actually children.

They did not think it was necessary to report to the police in either Haiti or the country of origin for those accountable.

I believe their motivation appears to be just the protection of the organisation’s reputation. They put that before those they were there to help and protect – a complete betrayal of trust.

A betrayal too of those who sent them there – the British people – and a betrayal of all those Oxfam staff and volunteers who do put the people they serve, first.

Last week, I met with Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam, and Caroline Thomson, Oxfam’s Chair of Trustees.

I made three demands of them –

That they fully cooperate with the Haitian authorities, handing over all the evidence they hold.

That, they report staff members involved in this incident to their respective national governments.

And, that they make clear how they will handle any forthcoming allegations around safeguarding – historic or live.

And I stressed that for me holding to account those who made the decision not to report and to let those potentially guilty of criminal activity slip away, was a necessity in winning back confidence in Oxfam.

As a result of those discussions, Oxfam has agreed to withdraw from bidding for any new UK Government funding until DFID is satisfied that they can meet the high safeguarding standards we expect of our partners.

I will take a decision on current programming after the twenty-sixth of February as I will then have further information which will help me decide if I need to adjust how that is currently being delivered.

Given the concerns about the wider sector this case has raised, I have written to every UK charity working overseas that receives UK aid – 192 organisations – insisting that they spell out the steps they are taking to ensure their safeguarding policies are fully in place and confirm they have referred all concerns they have about specific cases and individuals to the relevant authorities, including prosecuting authorities.

I have set a deadline of the twenty-sixth of February for all UK charities working overseas to give us the assurances that we have asked for and to raise any concerns with the relevant authorities.

We are also undertaking in parallel a similar exercise with all non-UK charity partners – 393 organisations in total and with all our suppliers including those in the private sector – over 500 organisations – to make clear our standards and remind them of their obligations, and we are doing the same with all multilateral partners too.

The UK Government reserves the right to take whatever decisions about present or future funding to Oxfam, and any other organisation, that we deem necessary. We have been very clear that we will not work with any organisation that does not live up to the high standards on safeguarding and protection that we require.

I will also be sharing details of this approach with other governments departments, who are responsible for the ODA spend.

Although this work is not yet complete it is clear from the Charity Commission reporting data – and lack of it from some organisations – that a cultural change is needed to ensure all that can be done to stop sexual exploitation in the aid sector, is being done.

And we need to take some practical steps. Now.

We should not wait for the UN to take action. We must set up our own systems now.

My department, and the Charity Commission, will hold a safeguarding summit on the fifth of March, where we will meet with UK international development charities, regulators and experts to confront safeguarding failures and agree practical measures, such as an aid worker accreditation scheme we in the UK can use.

Later in the year, we will take this programme of work to a wide-ranging, global safeguarding conference to drive action across the whole international aid sector.

And I’m pleased to say the US, Canada, the Netherlands and others have already agreed to support our goal of improved safeguarding standards across the sector.

The UK is not waiting for others to act. We are taking a lead on this.

I will also be speaking to colleagues across government and beyond about what more we can do to stop exploitation and abuse in the UN and broader multilateral system.

The message from us to all parts of the UN is clear – you can either get your house in order, or you can prepare to carry out your good work without our money.

I welcome the UN’s announcement on the fourteenth of February that the UN does not and will not claim immunity for sexual abuse cases. This sends a clear signal that the UN is not a soft target, but we must hold the UN to account for this.

Further actions we have taken in the last week include the creation of a new Safeguarding Unit. We have also promoted our whistleblowing and reporting phone line to encourage anyone with information on safeguarding issues to contact us.

We have appointed Sheila Drew Smith, a recent member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, who has agreed to bring her expertise and her challenge to support my Department’s ambition on safeguarding. She will report to me directly.

I have asked to meet leaders of the audit profession to discuss what more they can do to provide independent assurance over safeguarding to the organisations that DFID partners with globally.

And I have held my own Department to the same scrutiny that I am demanding of others. I have asked the department to go through our centrally held HR systems and our fraud and whistleblowing records as far back as they exist.

I am assured that there are no centrally recorded cases which were dealt with incorrectly.

Separately, we are reviewing any locally reported allegations of sexual misconduct involving DFID staff. To date our review of staff cases has looked at 75% of our teams across DFID and will complete in a fortnight.

Our investigations are still ongoing and if, during this process, we discover any further historic or current cases, I will report on our handling of these to Parliament.

DFID, other government departments and the National Crime Agency work closely together when serious allegations of potentially criminal activity in partner organisations are brought to our attention and we are strengthening this, as the new Strategy Director at the NCA will take on a lead role for the aid sector.

I am calling on anyone who has any concerns about abuse or exploitation in the aid sector to come forward and report these to our counter fraud and whistleblowing team. Details are on the DFID website and all communications will be treated in complete confidence.

Later today I will have further meetings, including with the Defence Secretary, regarding peacekeeping troops, and the Secretary of State at DCMS regarding the Charity Sector.

My absolute priority is to keep the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people safe from harm. It is utterly despicable that sexual exploitation and abuse continue to exist in the aid sector.

The recent reports should be a wake-up call to all of us. Now is the time for us to act, but as we do so we should note the good people working across the world in this sector – saving lives often by endangering their own – and all those from fundraisers to trustees who make that work possible across the entire aid sector.

In the last week alone UK aid and UK aid workers has helped vaccinate around 850,000 children against polio.

And we should also recognise that work can only be done with the support of the British people.

I commend this statement to the House.