International Development Committee Announcement

NEW INQUIRY: Sustainable Development in a Changing Climate

The challenges facing poor countries as they respond to climate change while striving for economic development are immense. Poor countries will suffer most from climate change which threatens to reverse development gains if proactive adaptation policies are not pursued. It is therefore vital that adaptation is fully integrated into development assistance policies. In particular, power generation and the impact of increasing urbanisation will need to be taken fully into account. In working with partner countries to develop such strategies, donors must ensure that technology transfer and renewable energy sources are prioritised. In the context of the current global economic crisis, the problems facing developing countries in adapting to climate change are likely to be exacerbated, while at the same time new opportunities for economic development may become available.

Ensuring environmental sustainability is essential for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and is itself the objective of MDG 7. But it is not clear to what extent current policies to promote economic development in poor countries are consistent with this objective. There are concerns that some of the sectors which offer the greatest potential for economic growth in developing countries may have a negative effect on the global climate and place increasing stresses on resources and environmental systems. On the other hand, the current focus in developed countries on mitigating climate change risks disadvantaging developing countries which are reliant on air transport and freight for tourism and the export of high value products such as flowers, vegetables and fruit.

Negotiations on a new international climate change framework are underway. In the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, this inquiry will explore what sustainable development means in practice for the UK’s relationship with the developing world in the 21st century. It will examine the potential conflict between economic development and climate change mitigation. It will also consider how the UK Government can best promote development which is sustainable and lifts people out of poverty and which promotes effective adaptation strategies in developing countries.

The Committee invites written evidence on the following themes:

  • The effectiveness and coherence of the UK Government’s approach to sustainable development in developing countries;
  • The extent to which climate change adaptation is integrated into DFID’s development policies;
  • Potential adverse impacts for developing countries of steps by developed countries to mitigate climate change, including in the context of the ‘post-2012’ negotiations, and potential benefits for developing countries of related technology transfers;
  • The impact of choices about power generation and energy sources in both developed and developing countries and the linkages between these;
  • The role of transport, including aviation, in economic development in developing countries, particularly freight and exports, and the impact of such transport on the environment;
  • The role of tourism in economic development, and the potential for sustainable tourism;
  • Pro-poor exploitation of natural resources, including minerals and forests, and the regulatory framework for exploitation;
  • Opportunities for developing countries presented by sustainable approaches, such as carbon trading, direct fiscal transfers and addressing the needs of increasingly environmentally-sensitive consumers.

Submission of written evidence

The Committee invites individuals and organisations with relevant expertise and experience to submit written evidence on any of these issues.

The deadline for submitting written evidence is Friday 28 November 2008.

Evidence submitted should:

  • if possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format by e-mail to . If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details
  • begin with a one page summary if it is longer than six pages
  • have numbered paragraphs
  • avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.

Submissions can also be sent by post to International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. If a number of published documents are sent to accompany written evidence, these should be listed in the covering email.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organization submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.


Committee membership is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Stephen Crabb MP (Con), Daniel Kawczynski MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Jim Sheridan MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab), Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem).

Committee Contact: Dr Anna Dickson, 020 7219 2738, or

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589, or

Committee website:

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474)