UK aid is responding to our changing world and tackling the great challenges of our timeby Alok Sharma / November 5, 2019 / Leave a comment
The world is rapidly changing—and with it, we face new global challenges.
131 million girls are out of school. 100 million people in developing countries could be pushed into poverty by climate impacts as soon as 2030. Africa’s population is booming and around 20 million jobs a year need to be created just to keep pace.
UK aid is responding to our changing world and tackling the great challenges of our time. It is transforming lives in the poorest countries and making the world healthier, safer and more prosperous for everyone.
I have been lucky to see this first-hand as International Development Secretary.
During my trip to Ethiopia, I met inspiring girls learning how to code during a summer camp, backed by UK aid. Mekdes, who is 16, told me “education is a weapon that can change the world.” I could not agree more. Girls’ education matters. It empowers girls to fight against inequality and helps give them, and the countries they live in, brighter economic futures.
We are also championing sexual and reproductive health rights for women and girls, with UK aid giving more than 20 million access to safe family planning every year, saving tens of thousands of lives.
Last month, I met activists and experts to discuss what more the UK should do to tackle preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children under five in developing countries. Women deserve respectful, dignified healthcare no matter where they live, or where their child is born. The senseless injustice of preventable deaths must end.
During the summer I stood at one of the busiest crossings along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I met health workers, community leaders and children. And I saw the vital support UK aid is providing to combat Ebola and stop it crossing borders. Helping to keep communities safe.
Diseases are a threat to us all. And so is climate change. I met scientists working at the University of Cambridge who, with DFID support, are developing advances in crop engineering to protect plants from climate change, pests and diseases. In turn, this will mean people in the developing world will have enough food to eat while protecting the environment. With the UK hosting the global COP26 Climate Summit next year, we will drive even more ambitious action to tackle climate change.
But for me, the ultimate goal is…