NGOs’ concerns at Cameron’s plan to “join up” budgets of DFID and MOD

NGOs have responded to David Cameron's plans to "join up" the International Development and Defence budgets with dismay.

Left Foot Forward reported this morning on David Cameron’s speech outlining plans to “join up” the international development and defence budgets as part of his party’s National Security Strategy; we have contacted NGOs for their reaction to the speech.

Kirsty Hughes, Oxfam’s Head of Policy, said:

“David Cameron’s headline pledge to meet the UK’s aid promises remains welcome but the small print revealed today is of real concern.

“Removing aid from the poorest people and using it for military goals rather than tackling poverty would be a big step backwards and would undermine the UK’s leadership role on international development.”

Save the Children’s Director of Policy David Mepham added:

“We welcome David Cameron’s commitment to ring-fence the UK international development budget. However there is an urgent need for the Conservatives to clarify that the purpose of development aid is poverty reduction, not subsidising military operations.

“Save the Children is very concerned that the Conservatives’ security spokesperson, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, left open the possibility of significant aid funds being diverted into stabilisation units.

“This dangerously muddles up security and development goals, increasing the risks facing development and humanitarian workers in conflict situations.”

Meanwhile, the New Statesman reported that:

“Cameron can expect a fight from NGOs if he tries to push all the government’s development efforts into mopping up after costly wars. He promised to maintain a 0.7 per cent share of gross national income for development spending.

“But, as Oxfam’s response shows, if this simply means taking funds away from current development projects to support his security strategy, it will be deeply unpopular.

More analysis to follow on Monday.

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18 Responses to “NGOs’ concerns at Cameron’s plan to “join up” budgets of DFID and MOD”

  1. Tristan Osborne

    RT @leftfootfwd: NGOs’ concerns at Cameron’s plan to “join up” budgets of DFID and MOD:

  2. Andy T

    RT @leftfootfwd NGOs’ concerns at Cameron’s plan to “join up” budgets of DFID and MOD: – WOW. Big old #toryfail

  3. Shaun

    Isn’t the problem that he’s trying to address that the MoD and DfID don’t really work very well together? This is something Lord Ashdown wrote about in his big essay on Afghanistan a year or so ago; he said that our efforts in Afghanistan but also in Bosnia are hampered and have been hampered by mutual distrust between the MoD and the DfID. I believe Ashdown suggested far more integration of the two departments and praised USAid which works very closely with the military in situations such as Afghanistan, but also Haiti.

    The NGOs are right in that the development work which is far more long-term doesn’t really have a military angle. However in emergencies such as Haiti when hospital ships are sent and aid is distributed through a Brazilian military peacekeeping force an integration of military response and humanitarian aid makes a lot of sense? Similarly in Afghanistan which is a conflict with a number of development goals tied in.

    It seems like common sense to ‘join up’ implementation, if not funding. Very often we use the military to deliver humanitarian aid, and increasingly we need development aid to follow the military in conflict zones. If the two ministries continue to distrust each other then that’s very damaging to both our development and defence policy.

    Though, joining up the budget’s ridiculous.

  4. Tim Worstall

    Depends what he’s talking about really. Sierra Leone and Libera looked like very good uses of the military forces to do developmental good. Perhaps you don’t agree?

  5. Chris Paul

    RT @leftfootfwd: NGOs’ concerns at Cameron’s plan to “join up” budgets of DFID and MOD:

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