Here is a speech I had hoped to contribute to the Britain in the World debate – but unfortunately I didn’t get chosen for what turned out to be one of the most hotly contested line-up of speakers from the floor..
Good Morning Conference!
This week we have heard both our own Ministers and leaders of European sister parties, commend the work which our Prime Minister, and our Labour Government have achieved on the International Stage.
Our leading role in Europe enables us to shape and share the vision of a united, empowered, economic and social Union, which has the collective power to influence global trade, policy and wider co-operation. A vision which is underpinned by the only legally binding system of Human Rights in the world!
I have a special relationship with America because my sister, father and Guyanese cousins live there – and so I was delighted for them when it sterted to look like a black American might lead their nation, I was delighted for America when they elected him to office, and I was delighted for the world when Barack Obama stood forward with the conviction to rewrite the rules, and prioritise innovation, international co-operation and equality of opportunity. Priorities that I know are shared by every person here today.
Our Labour values are not limited to improving the conditions of the most unfortunate here in Britain – we work for an improvement in the lives of all those around the world who suffer daily from scarcity of resources. Scarcity caused by unequal levels of development – and scarcity caused by natural disasters, as our global climate changes.
So I welcome legislation for 0.7% to be spent on International Development, and I wholeheartedly support our government’s pledge for Copenhagen, but Conference, it is not only our Carbon Footprint which we need to think about.
Millions of people around the world do not have access to safe, clean, drinking water. Water scarcity is one of the effects of climate change which we do not have to imagine – it is with us today.
Therefore, I urge you all to think about your Water Footprint. This is not simply the amount of water you use to brush your teeth and run a bath – but also the 90% of global freshwater consumed by agriculture. When we import produce from water scarce countries, WE are drinking their water. Yet the good news is, your informed consumer choice can change this.
So from now on.. Watch Your Water Footprint!!