Kerkulu tea estate workers regularly remove bad grass by hand

Fighting poverty and making trade fair must be priorities for new Foreign and Development Office, says Fairtrade

Eradicating global poverty should be a central aim of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), says Fairtrade’s CEO Michael Gidney.

Michael Gidney said: ‘The UK should continue to pull its weight in delivering a fair and green global recovery from COVID, prioritising the poorest people and meeting urgent needs for assistance. This is a crucial early test for the new FCDO.

‘Looking ahead, it is vital that the new department honours our international commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate change agreement, as well as our commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid. As the UK prepares to host the G7 and the COP26 climate change summit in 2021, it must show global leadership.

‘Fighting global poverty also needs the support of the whole of government as we set in place new arrangements outside the European Union. New trade arrangements should support the achievement of the SDGs. With up to 15 percent of our food coming from Asia, Africa and South America, the UK’s future food strategy should be truly international in its thinking.

‘Fairtrade is ready to work with the new department to further these objectives. We are delighted to be working with the UK Government as part of the new Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility to support producers and workers during the coronavirus pandemic. We look forward to deepening our partnership with the new department to continue to reduce global poverty.

‘Clear leadership combined with transparent oversight is essential. Fairtrade supports the call by BOND and others for a chief secretary responsible for development and humanitarian aid, with a seat in the cabinet and on the National Security Council.

‘The chief secretary should be responsible for overall oversight of aid spending, across all departments and policy areas, to promote a coherent vision. Retaining the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is very important, and this should continue to be subject to Parliamentary oversight, ideally through retaining a separate ODA committee to oversee aid spending across government.’

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Notes for Editors

About Fairtrade

The international Fairtrade system exists to end poverty through trade. The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body and NGO which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on more than 5,000 products which meet its rigorous social, economic and environmental standards. This independent label signifies to consumers that farmers and workers across 73 developing countries are getting a better deal from trade.  

Today, more than 1.6 million people who work hard to produce coffee, tea, cocoa, bananas, wines, flowers, cotton, gold and many other products benefit from Fairtrade, which campaigns for as well as enables a fairer system of global trade.  

Beyond certification, the Fairtrade Foundation is deepening its impact by delivering specialist programmes to help disadvantaged communities boost productivity in the face of challenges such as climate change.