At the UKYP Annual Sitting, Harry and other Members of the UK Youth Parliament put an international twist on their normal policy making process. They looked at the responsibility of Youth Parliament Members to support international development and the delivering of aid to less developed countries, crippled by long term poverty.
Harry and the Members debated the UK’s obligation to support impoverished countries, the justification behind increasing aid budgets when cuts domestically are hitting young people hard, and the idea that the world’s economies are intrinsically linked as a result of globalisation.
On one side, members suggested young people should do more by donating to charities working in third world countries, or by raising their concerns with MPs who could table motions or debates about the issue of aid in parliament. Some suggested MYPs had a duty to respect the diversity of young people in their constituencies who were personally effected by famine in their home countries due to family links and that there issues should be treated as equal to the issues of others.
However, other Members suggested that offering retroviral drugs, mosquito nets and education and food programmes acted only to dominate the markets, rendering local people unable to provide a service. Whilst this is a possibility, Harry advocated the idea of short term monetary, or medical aid, medium term education provision for local providers and long term transition to independent, internal support. This support would allow locals in famine stricken countries to grow their own food, provide mosquito nets or access education allowing them to become the next generation of health professionals.
Harry commented “There are a number of countries with widespread droughts, water shortages or failed harvests causing extensive famines and poverty. Whilst ever this is the case, it is not only an absolute necessity, but a moral obligation to support them. The most effective help is in the form of disaster aid at the point where the country is in critical need, and people’s lives are at risk moving to resolving internal governance problems to ensure corruption does not become a cause of poverty”