This month, we heard from guest speaker Kit Dorey from Peace Direct about the Government's new International Development Strategy (IDS), and what it is likely to mean for the UK's anti-poverty work. With an increased focus on trade and economic development, and the UK's national interest, the IDS barely mentions poverty reduction - the legal and moral purpose of the UK's Official Development Asssistance (ODA) spending. And with ODA forecast to return to 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2024/5, it is vital that additional funds are spent effectively on poverty-reduction priorities such as girls' education, health, and ending preventable deaths.
A particular concern is that spending on multilateral (collaborative) programmes is to be reduced compared with bilateral (country-to-country) spending. This puts funding for agencies such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria at risk - and the Global Fund needs additional financing this year. The discussion set out the context for our campaign action this month - to write to the Foreign Secretary to ask her to ensure that UK ODA spending retains its focus on fighting poverty and injustice. We also discussed whether the strategy is a lost opportunity to consider how we can 'decolonise aid' and put power in the hands of the communities most affected by poverty and inequaltity. You can watch the recording of the call here.
Resources and links mentioned in the discussion: