Only inside the EU can the UK help fight global poverty

The UK is a global leader in international development. 

Our work fighting poverty, disease, climate change and conflict embodies British values, and is also in our national interest. We are writing not about the domestic political implications of Britain’s membership of the EU, but about the international implications. In our view, EU membership is a practical way to extend our reach and multiply our influence. Every pound of aid the UK spends through EU institutions is matched by £6 from other member states. This larger pool delivers better lives for the poorest people. It also helps tackle problems in areas where the UK has no large presence, for example in the Sahel and parts of west Africa. EU aid complements activities that other aid agencies cannot undertake, like police and security missions in fragile hotspots. Cooperation within the EU will be essential to tackling the humanitarian emergency in Syria, the migration crisis, and the wider issues of peace, security and development in the Middle East and north Africa.

Beyond aid, partnership within the EU helped the UK achieve an ambitious outcome at the climate talks in Paris; and provides a platform for further work on trade, financial flows, corruption and human rights. In all these areas, the EU demonstrates the value of collective action on a global scale. Of course, there are things we want to change in the way the EU works. But British engagement raises standards and improves performance. In September last year, the UK and 192 other members of the UN signed up to the new sustainable development goals. These set the whole world, rich countries and poor, on a new path towards peace, prosperity, justice and sustainability. The values underlying the global goals are shared by the UK and embedded in EU treaties. Withdrawing from the EU would diminish the UK’s role in the world and set back our efforts to end global poverty.

Signed in a personal capacity
Michael Anderson
CEO, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
Valerie Amos
Former UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator
Owen Barder
Director of the Center for Global Development In Europe
Tanya Barron
CEO, Plan International
Mark Malloch Brown
Former UN deputy general secretary
Andrew Cahn
Chair of WWF
Rose Caldwell
Executive director, Concern Worldwide
Margaret Casely-Hayford
Chair of board of trustees of Action Aid UK
Paul Collier
Economist, University of Oxford
Brendan Gormley
Former CEO of the Disaster Emergency Committee
John Holmes
Former UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator
David Hulme
President of the Development Studies Association
Richard Jolly
Former assistant secretary-general of the UN
Frank Judd
Former director of Oxfam and VSO
Melissa Leach
Director, Institute of Development Studies
Simon Maxwell
Former director of the Overseas Development Institute and former president of the Development Studies Association of the UK and Ireland
Daleep Mukarji
Former CEO Christian Aid
Simon O’Connell
Executive director, Mercy Corps Europe
Ann Pettifor
Director of policy research in macroeconomics, co-founder and former Director of Jubilee 2000
Martin Tisne
Investment partner, Omidyar Network
Kevin Watkins
Director, Overseas Development Institute
Rob Williams
CEO, War child
Jasmine Whitbread
Former CEO of Save the Children
Professor Myles Wickstead
Visiting professor (international relations), King’s College London