The Department for International Development (DFID) today unveiled the results of a review into UK aid - Left Foot Forward outlines the main policy goals and reaction.
The Department for International Development (DFID) today unveiled the results of a review into UK aid which Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell said “will deliver for the world’s poorest people over the next four years” and “make Britain’s aid budget more focused and effective”.
In a statement to the House, Mr Mitchell said he believed “the millions of pounds given around the world will make this country proud” and that DFID will now “focus British aid more tightly on countries where Britain is well-placed to have a significant long-term impact on poverty”.
The main goals of the policy are, by 2015, to:
• Stop 250,000 newborn babies dying needlessly;
• Save the lives of 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth;
• Secure schooling for 11 million children – more than are educated in the UK but at 2.5 per cent of the cost;
• Vaccinate more children against preventable diseases than there are people in the whole of England;
• Provide access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation to more people than there are in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
• Support 13 countries to hold freer and fairer elections;
• Help 10 million more women get access to modern family planning.
Mr Mitchell said DFID will concentrate its resources in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
While bilateral programmes in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cambodia, China, Gambia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kosovo, Lesotho, Moldova, Niger, Russia, Serbia and Vietnan would end.
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Harriet Harman welcomed the government’s decision to stick to Labour’s 0.7% target for aid, but warned that “there must be no slipping back on that”, telling Mr Mitchell he’s “got to be strong and stop his ministerial colleagues using DFID as a hole in the wall”.
The Labour Campaign for International Development said “reform, not cuts” was the answer, and further warned there was “a clear risk the aid budget will be raided by the MoD, as it was for the Pope’s visit“; cutting aid to Niger at a time of famine was “deeply irresponsible”; ‘Cash on Delivery’ and ‘results-based aid’ could be “too short term and ineffective”; and the rationale behind cutting aid to ‘poor but stable’ countries needed to be “more clearly outlined”.
And Jamie Drummond, executive director of ONE, which fights against extreme poverty and preventable disease, told Left Foot Forward:
“The Government must continue to focus on ensuring that British taxpayers get good value for money. Every penny we spend in overseas aid should be used to reduce poverty and help meet the Millennium Development Goals.
“The review points to the Global Fund and GAVI as organisations that have proven to be highly effective in saving lives. It is estimated that GAVI has prevented 5 million deaths since it was established in 2000 by providing routine vaccinations to children, while the Global Fund has saved 6.5 million lives since 2002 through the provision of AIDS treatment, anti-tuberculosis treatment, and the distribution of 160 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria.
“We hope that the government will now follow through the logic of its approach by announcing a significant increase in funding for the Global Fund and GAVI in the coming months. However, there is a worrying lack of concrete investment in agriculture.
“More than 1 billion people are suffering from hunger. Global food prices are at an all time high and it is absolutely essential that we provide support to help people increase the productivity of their farms, allowing them to feed their families and generate a sustainable income. Funding agricultural development, particularly in Africa where about 70% of the population live in rural areas, is crucial if we are to create wealth and reduce poverty in the long term.”
• The “Changing lives, Delivering results” executive summary can be downloaded here, with country summaries here, the Bilateral Aid Review technical report here, and Multilateral Aid review technical report here.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.