With the Lib Dems ahead in some of the polls the Conservative party in particular will be focusing on potential areas of weakness in Nick Clegg’s party’s policies.
International aid and defence is the focus of the leaders’ debate on Sky News on Thursday, so the article by Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and author of ‘Common Wealth with David Cameron in the Independent yesterday examining ways in which women can be put “at the heart of” of the party’s vision for international development.
The plans included a commitment to spending 0.7 of GDP on overseas aid, with an emphasis “on greater transparency, ensuring the money reaches the people who need it most” and recognition of the significance of investing in women as conduit of development.

“Women can hold the key to development in some of the world’s poorest countries – in education, enterprise, micro-finance and healthcare. Investing in women pays dividends throughout the entire community.”

“..with women making up a significant majority of the world’s poorest people, we need targeted action to support women the world over. Take maternal mortality, for example: 350,000 women die during childbirth every year, a figure that has barely fallen in the past two decades in many regions. A Conservative government will work to strengthen health systems and family planning facilities in developing countries, including steps to improve access to well-trained midwives and emergency obstetrics care.

“Third, because a joined-up international approach is essential, we need to ensure that action on women and development is on the agenda at key global meetings. A Conservative government will make this a top priority for Britain at the G8, G20 and UN summits this year. And it will work closely with countries such as Canada and the US, which have already said that tackling maternal and child mortality should be an urgent global priority as part of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

Photocredit: Subcomandanta via a Creative Commons licence


Up to 37,000 pregnant women are among those with no access to safe drinking water, food and medical care in Hait.
With hospitals and medical centres destroyed women are giving birth in the street a representative from CARE has said.
Haiti already has the highest rates maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere, according to UNICEF.
Lucinda Marshall writes about the need for specific aid for women and Amie Newman highlights the need for action to make sure women’s health needs do not “fall through the cracks”.
In the press, one US aid effort to help pregnant women and newborn women is reported on here.

Photo credit: US Coast Guard (Creative Commons Licence)