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Baroness Amos Replaces Clare Short At DFID

12 May 2003

New Secretary of State at the Department for International Development (DFID)

Baroness Amos has today been appointed Secretary of State for International Development.

"I am delighted to be joining DFID," said Baroness Amos "DFID has an outstanding reputation around the world for its important and pioneering work in international development."

DFID, was granted Cabinet status in May 1997, bringing development issues to the heart of Government policy. The Government is committed to the Millennium Development Goals that aim to halve the proportion of the world's people in severe poverty by 2015; and to increasing the development budget, and the proportion of development assistance as a percentage of GNI.

In July 2002 the UK announced an increase in Official Development Assistance (ODA) by £1.5 billion to reach 0.40% of national income by 2005-06. This was the biggest ever rise in UK aid, making a 93 per cent real terms increase since 1997. This is the highest UK ODA/GNI level for over twenty years and proof of the Government's continued commitment to make progress towards meeting the UN target of an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.7%. DFID's budget will grow to nearly £4.6 billion a year by 2005-06.

Notes to Editors
Valerie Amos has been the principal spokesperson in the House of Lords on International Development since 1998. She was created a Life Peer in August 1997. Valerie Amos was born in Guyana, studied at the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham and East Anglia, and was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Thames Valley University in 1995 in recognition of her work on equality and social justice.

In addition, since June 2001, Valerie Amos has been Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs with responsibility for Africa, Commonwealth, Caribbean, Overseas Territories, Consular Issues and FCO Personnel.

She was previously a Government Whip in the House of Lords from 1998 to 2001 and also a spokesperson on Social Security, International Development and Women's Issues. After working in Equal Opportunities, Training and Management Services in local government in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Camden and Hackney, she became Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission 1989-94. In 1995 Valerie Amos co-founded Amos Fraser Bernard and was an adviser to the South African Government on public service reform, human rights and employment equity.

Valerie Amos has also been Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust 1990-98, a Trustee of the Institute of Public Policy Research, a non-executive Director of the University College London Hospitals Trust, a Trustee of Voluntary Services Overseas, Chair of the Africa Trust, a director of Hampstead Theatre and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Royal College of Nursing Institute.

The Government's policy in International Development is set out in the two White Papers on International Development: Eliminating World Poverty, A Challenge for the 21st Century, published in November 1997; and Eliminating World Poverty - Making Globalisation Work for the Poor, published in December 2000. Copies are available from the DFID Public Enquiry Point, Tel: 0845 300 4100, or online at

The Government is committed to the internationally endorsed Millennium development Goals which aim to halve the proportion of the world's people in severe poverty by 2015.

The targets are:

1. universal primary education by 2015

2. the elimination of gender inequality in primary and secondary schools by 2005

3. a two-thirds reduction in the mortality rates for infants and children under 5 and a three-quarters reduction in maternal mortality, all by 2015

4. access through the primary health-care system to reproductive health services for all individuals of appropriate ages as soon as possible and no later than 2015, and

5. the implementation of national strategies for sustainable development in all countries by 2005, so as to ensure that current trends in the loss of environmental resources are effectively reversed at both global and national levels by 2015.

For more information about the work of DFID, contact the Press Office, Tel: 0207 023 0600 or email:

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