Lord Boateng Lecture

“Lord Boateng gave the 30th Marlborough Brandt Lecture on Thursday 3 May in the Memorial Hall at Marlborough College. Paul Boateng was welcomed by the Master and introduced by Lord Joffe, one-time human rights lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial in South Africa in 1963.

The Marlborough Brandt Lecture was first instituted in 1982 by Bill Spray (CR) President and Nick Maurice (C3 1956-61) Director of the Marlborough Brandt Group following the publication of the Brandt Report “North South – A Programme for Survival” produced by a group of politicians led by Willy Brandt, then Chancellor of West Germany. Previous Marlborough Brandt lecturers have included the Princess Royal, Lord Kinnock, Claire Short, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, and two eminent OMs, Mark Malloch-Brown, when he was Deputy Secretary General of the UN and Frank Gardner security correspondent for the BBC.

Paul Boateng, who was the first black Cabinet Minister in the Blair Government and one time High Commissioner to South Africa stressed that in the lead up to the Millennium Development Goals target of 2015, there is widespread recognition of the opportunity for renewed action. In Ghana the Global Action on Vaccination and Immunisation was launched, with help from the UK. The UK is in the forefront in this area, and thanks to concerted action, many millions of children will now live, who would previously have died of preventable diseases. In general, progress towards the MDGs is a mixed picture of success and failure. Now is the time to be thinking of the post 2015 goals. Those goals have been opaque, and were developed top-down, initially from the UN Secretary General’s office. Developing countries had minimal involvement. In their early stages, the MDGs had probably been helpful. The recent Addis Ababa meeting built on high quality research. Now is the time to go beyond politics and politicians and reach down to the grass roots. Business and civil society have critical roles to play. A framework is emerging, with the new strands of: economic development; international collaboration; developing the capacity of developing countries; local cross-border initiatives. Underlying themes are peace; security and effective governance. The MDG-Plus agenda will go beyond those goals, with a new emphasis on: transport links; education, R&D, technology transfer, and human development.

Following the lecture Lord Joffe signed copies of his book “The State vs Nelson Mandela – the Trial that Changed South Africa”

Nick Maurice

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