Fairtrade Foundation backs parliamentary recommendations for addressing impacts of Covid-19 in developing countries

The Fairtrade Foundation has welcomed the recommendations of a new parliamentary report urging the UK government to ensure any action to prevent global health crises does not undermine longer-term efforts in international development.

The report, ‘Humanitarian crises monitoring: impact of coronavirus (interim findings)’, published today by the House of Commons International Development Committee (IDC) examines the immediate impact of coronavirus in developing countries.

In it, the IDC recommends that development programmes must not be sacrificed by the reallocation of aid funds diverted to fight Covid-19. I also states that the UK aid budget should not fund research and development into Covid-19 vaccines, treatment and tests that are not targeted at developing countries.

The IDC is currently running a follow-up inquiry on the secondary, indirect impacts of Covid-19, and is hearing evidence from different parties, including the Fairtrade Foundation.

Fairtrade Foundation’s Director of Impact, Dr Louisa Cox, who appeared before the Committee on Tuesday, said: ‘It was a privilege to be able to give evidence to the International Development Committee’s inquiry into the secondary impacts of the pandemic, and the role the UK can play in supporting the most vulnerable. Developing country farmers and workers have been hard hit by the pandemic, and the loss of livelihoods is likely to lead to hardship for already vulnerable producers for years to come.

‘This report is an important opportunity for governments, businesses, and civil society to take stock of best practice as we look towards our shared future. I particularly welcome the recommendation that the UK government commit additional funding towards programmes dealing with the secondary impacts of the pandemic, such as loss of livelihoods.’

Dr Louisa Cox continued: ‘The Fairtrade Foundation is pleased to be partnering with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of its Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility, working with businesses to support producers in Ghana and Kenya. We would welcome the opportunity to scale up this important work, and reach many more farmers and workers struggling under the impacts of the pandemic.

‘It is also welcome to see the report highlight the importance of local, and partner International, NGOs, being at the heart of recovery efforts. The Fairtrade Foundation in the UK is supported by Producer Networks in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and we look forward to working the FCDO to support them in their work to ensure that ODA reaches the most vulnerable in our supply chains.

‘Now is the time to not only build back better, but build back fairer.’

Read more about the IDC report on the UK Parliament website.


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