New DFID Strategy Launched, 'UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest'

14 Dec 2015

 ‘UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest’ reaffirms the commitment of the UK to spending 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) on international development. RESULTS UK was at the forefront of the campaign to enshrine this in law and RESULTS grassroots campaigners across the country should be proud of the efforts they have played in making this a reality and an ongoing priority for the UK Government. The new strategy outlines why the government believes in foreign aid. As the title suggests, ‘it’s in the UK’s national interest’. They have positioned their approach to international development alongside four strategic objectives, with new funding and strategies.

  1. Strengthening global peace, security and governance

Summary The government believes that poverty reduction overseas and the strengthening of the UK’s national security can be achieved through tackling the causes of instability – insecurity, conflict, crime, and corruption. New Funding/Strategies

  • £1 billion Conflict, Stability and Security Fund which will support the international work of the National Security Council. This funding will rise to £1.3bn by 2020.
  • 50% of DFID spending will go to fragile and conflict affected states.
  1. Strengthening resilience and response to crises

Summary This includes increasing the support for crises in Syria and other countries. Importantly for our work, it also includes new spending on global public health and support for mitigating and adapting to climate change. New Funding/Strategies

  • £500m Overseas Development Assistance crisis reserve for cross-government spending in response to crises, such as Ebola.
  • Climate-smart development for DFID and new aid-funded programmes delivered by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for facing the challenges of climate change.
  • A further £70m investment in the Fleming Fund which aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
  • A further £90m investment in the UK Vaccines Network over the next 5 years. The network aims to bring the vaccine sector together to help development and trialling of new vaccinations.
  • A new global challenges research fund of £1.5 billion will be used to aid UK science in tackling developing countries’ issues. This will include antimicrobial resistance and viral threats.
  • A new £1 billion ‘Ross Fund’ for developing and testing responses to serious diseases in developing countries.
  • Climate finance for developing countries is to increase to at least £5.8bn over the next 5 years. This money will be used to reduce emissions and build resilience of the poorest to climate change, amongst others.
  1. Promoting global prosperity

Summary Promoting economic development and prosperity will help to reduce poverty as well as increase UK trade and investment opportunities New Funding/Strategies

  • A new Prosperity Fund, £1.3bn over 5 years, will aim to improve the business climate, competitiveness of markets, energy and financial sector reform, and tackle corruption.
  • £735m of DFID money will be invested in CDC, the Development Finance Institution owned by the UK government
  • Energy Africa campaign to scale-up the solar market and to expand access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa.
  1. Tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable

Summary The government has said it will ‘strive to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030’, as well as prioritising the rights of women and girls. The strategy commits to achieving Conservative commitments made in their manifesto, including getting 11 million children into school, saving 1.4 million children’s lives through immunisations, and improving nutrition for at least 50 million people. We’ll be working hard to ensure these pledges are followed through. There are also some more general new strategies worth mentioning. There will be £400 million in efficiency savings by 2019-20 with a pledge from the government to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.  DFID will no longer be giving traditional general budget support to countries and the strategy sets out plans for more cross-Whitehall work on development. Tthis will be reflected in the share of DFID’s budget spent in different departments. DFID describes the strategy as a ‘fundamental shift’ which will ‘show there is no distinction between reducing poverty, tackling challenges and serving our national interest’. There is also recognition of past successes, with references to ‘a strong record’ and referring to DFID as ‘a global leader’. As with all announcements like this, it will take time to see what it means in reality. Check back soon for more blogs on the strategy, including what it might mean for our work and what we’ll be doing to ensure it is effectively and responsibly delivered. If you have any questions about the aid strategy, please email Callum on callum.northcote@results.org.uk.

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Callum Northcote

Senior Policy Advocacy Officer (Nutrition)

Callum Northcote leads RESULTS UK’s policy advocacy work on nutrition. Callum firmly believes that policy change is an essential way to readdress global inequality and that undernutrition is a major barrier to progress. Callum has previously worked for the Scottish Government and in advocacy...

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