Condition for exercise of power to increase limit: adherence to DFID partnership principles

Part of Commonwealth Development Corporation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:45 pm ar 6 Rhagfyr 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, De Caerdydd a Phenarth 4:45, 6 Rhagfyr 2016

Again, I appreciate the spirit in which the Minister took the new clause. I accept the technical reason. Obviously, the partnership principles apply to partner Governments, but it seems they could be transposed quite easily. It is quite clear that the headline standards CDC would be expected to adhere to would be the same as the Department’s bilateral programme as a whole.

I appreciate the Minister’s comments about Feronia. It would be good to have more information in writing about that and what steps are being taken. I accept his point that there are sometimes difficult examples and situations. Professor Collier made the point this morning that we should be taking more risk, and we do not expect everything to be perfect or right from day one, particularly when we are operating in difficult environments. However, when repeated concerns are raised about a particular case but there appears to not be the clearest response, we risk going back to the darker days of CDC’s past and some of the other investments. There were serious issues, which I do not want to dwell on, off the coast of west Africa and so on that enjoyed a great deal of scrutiny and criticism at the time.

A key point we have been debating is that if we expand CDC’s resources at a huge pace and by such a significant amount, without safeguards, particularly if we are increasing the appetite for risk, there is a risk that more will go wrong. Without a clear caveat, clear standards and clearer transparency, so that we here in Parliament and citizens of developing countries can scrutinise fully these investments and whether they hold to principles of human rights and ethics, we will potentially get ourselves into very serious difficulties. That is why I am so worried about the quantum of increase, despite the Minister’s welcome statement about his intentions. I hope he will look seriously at the possibility of ensuring CDC adheres in that way. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.