Lord Rogan has called on Ministers to fully implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into UK Government policy.
The 17 goals, set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, cover a wide range of social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, sanitation, water, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Rogan - who also serves as Deputy Lord Speaker - paid tribute to former Prime Minister David Cameron for his role in formulating the SDGs when he chaired a panel established by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to advance the post-2015 development agenda.
“These goals have the collective aim of ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change in the period to 2030,” he said.
“And not only did Mr Cameron help to develop these admirable objectives, but he fought or them too.
“He told the UN General Assembly in September 2015 that fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals would require ‘actions not words.’
“He reminded the leaders of developed countries that they should deliver on their overseas aid spending commitments.
“And he went a step further, telling the presidents and prime ministers of less prosperous nations, and I quote: ‘Eradicating extreme poverty isn’t just something that developed countries can do. There’s a deep responsibility on the leaders of all countries.’”
Lord Rogan told peers that, following David Cameron’s resignation in July 2016, the focus of Whitehall and the wider British public had understandably been on Brexit.
“But despite these distractions, it is vital that the United Kingdom remains to the fore of the effort to ensure that leaders across the world keep to the commitments that Mr Cameron rightly asked of them,” he continued.
“And this is where I believe Brexit provides the UK Government, under a different Prime Minister in Theresa May, with a golden opportunity to lead the way.
“It is unquestionably the case that, after leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom will be in search of new alliances and new partnerships, and not just in the area of trade.
“The phrase ‘Global Britain is one we hear regularly, although I would expand this term to ‘Global Britain and Northern Ireland.’
“As a nation, we do need to broaden our reach and our influence if we are to really punch our weight in the years ahead.
“That means setting an example for others to follow. We must lead the way, and that must surely include the United Kingdom achieving the aim to ‘integrate the universal Sustainable Developments Goals into domestic policy.’”
Lord Rogan reminded the House that, following Donald Trump’s election as President, the United States had withdrawn from a series of international agreements.
“President Trump has abdicated the position that his predecessors in the White House have traditionally held as the de facto Leader of the Free World,” he continued.
“If the United States, in the short term at least, is refusing to set the standard for the nations of the world to follow, then we in the United Kingdom and our allies must not be found wanting.
“We must stick to David Cameron’s commitments and implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with the minimum possible delay.”