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25 October 2006

Barrett calls for greater focus on conflict prevention

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today urged the Government aid Ministers to focus on the prevention of conflict across the world after a new report by a group of MPs found that the cost of a single conflict in the world almost equals the value of annual development aid worldwide.

Mr Barrett made the call following a new report by the International Development Select Committee, of which he is a member, which claims that new aid commitments, made in 2005, could be wiped out by an increase in conflict in developing countries.

The average cost of a civil war for a low income country is estimated as about US$54 billion. This compares with a total global aid budget in 2004 of US$78.6 billion.

In the last year Mr Barrett has seen first-hand the results of conflict in the Sudan and Sierra Leone, two of the poorest countries in the world.

John Barrett, said:

“If the Government prioritised the link between conflict and development it would do more to create a climate for poverty reduction in these countries than any amount of costly aid programmes.”

Mr Barrett also criticised the Government for failing to do enough to deter UK companies selling arms to countries involved in conflicts.

“The use of cluster munitions in the recent war in the Lebanon was internationally condemned and yet the UK has done too little to tackle the proliferation of these weapons worldwide.”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.