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Paul Johnston

Ambassador to Ireland

Part of UK in Sweden

30th January 2013

The development of development

The British government, like Sweden, is a strong supporter of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Our Prime Minister is honoured to be co-chairing the UN High Level Panel on the future of international development, which will make recommendations later this year on what the new international agenda should be after 2015, when the MDGs are due to have been met.

There has been impressive progress against the MDGs

•    Halving poverty (one of the key targets) has already been reached

•    Nearly half a billion people escaped poverty, as defined by living on less than $1.25-a-day, in just 5 years

•    In the 20 years to 2010:

–    2 billion people gained access to improved drinking water
–    There were 5 million fewer deaths of children under 5 every year
–    Maternal deaths fell 33%

•    Malaria deaths decreased by 26% between 2000 and 2010

•    400,000 fewer people are dying from AIDS despite more living with HIV

But challenges remain:

•    1.3 billion continue to have to live on less than $1.25 a day

•    2.4 billion live on less than $2 per day

•    Around 270,000 women die in pregnancy/childbirth each year

•    Almost 7 million children under 5 die each year

•    There are 655,000 Malaria deaths each year– 90% of them taking the lives of young children in Africa

•    34 million people live with HIV

So continuing to tackle poverty, its causes such as conflict and its consequences such as disease, remains a fundamental international interest.

In the UK’s view, the key to this is helping create the stepping stones that people need to escape from poverty – tackling conflict, building effective institutions, encouraging effective and fair rule of law, transparency and accountability in public and private sectors and creating an environment where growth, through trade and investment, flourish.

We’re using our Presidency of the G8 as well as the Prime Minister’s role on the High Level Panel to work for these outcomes.

1 comment on “The development of development

  1. Dear Paul , pls. let me start by writing these few lines by interpreting your LAST words into my way of thinking. For I do full agree and do support this Presidency (…of the G8…) and PM David Cameron ‘s part in re. of his co-chairing part at the UN High Level Panel.
    But now – right from the start – some of YOUR topics which are important to me:
    #1: POVERTY. Surely the most important one / aim that ‘s been reached.
    #2 : DRINKING-WATER . It ‘s fundamental important for ANY KIND of health -(care).
    #3 : 270.000 WOMEN DIE…The most important target to fight against ’till 2015/2016.
    #4 : LIVE WITH HIV. Surely 1 of the easiest problems to solve. For we ‘ve meanwhile have a medicine-standard that guarantees everyone a life in dignity.
    To conclude : We all can solve such problems within the next years by making better rules of laws and a fairer trade.
    BW, Ingo-Steven Wais, Stuttgart

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About Paul Johnston

Paul Johnston joined the UK Civil Service in 1990, working for the Ministry of Defence initially. He has served in Paris and New York and has also had a wide…

Paul Johnston joined the UK Civil Service in 1990, working for the Ministry of Defence initially.

He has served in Paris and New York and has also had a wide range of political and security roles in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Paul joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1993 as Desk Officer for Bosnia. As part of this role he was also Private Secretary to EU negotiator Lord Owen and his representative on Bosnia Contact Group.

His first foreign posting was to Paris in 1995-99 as Second Secretary Political. He was Private Secretary to the Ambassador and latterly part of the UK delegation to the Kosovo Rambouillet negotiations. Then he returned to London as Head of the Kosovo Policy Team, leading work on post-conflict policy in the EU, NATO, UN and G8.

Before his second overseas posting to New York in 2005, Paul held a variety of other EU policy and security appointments in London, such as Head of European Defence Section between 2000-01 and Head of Security Policy Department between 2002-04.

As Head of the Political Section in UKMIS New York, he advised on major policy issues for the UK on the Security Council and the UN World Summit, including the UK EU Presidency in 2005.

Paul returned to London in 2008 as Director, International Security for the FCO. He was responsible for policy on UN, NATO, European Security, arms control and disarmament, human rights and good governance.

Paul was British Ambassador to Sweden from August 2011 to August 2015 and then was Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO.

He was UK Ambassador to the EU for Political and Security affairs from 2017 to January 2020 and became Ambassador to Ireland in September 2020.