UK - OUTLOOK
The UK’s strong commitment to international development is evident in its continued progress towards the 0.7% target, and it continues to play a leadership role among bilateral donors. This was confirmed by the appointment of Prime Minister Cameron as co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
It is also evident that the way the UK approaches development is changing. A strong focus on results, value for money, and accountability indicate a desire to approach development more efficiently and transparently. This is also important in light of current austerity measures and making a strong case for development spending to the UK public. There is some indication that the increased focus on results-based approaches may impact how DFID works within its country programs. For example, DFID ministers have recently provided more direction to country offices to support malaria and RMNH programs, which may signify a shift from previous country office autonomy. Additionally, the planned decrease in bilateral ODA to HIV/AIDS, while in some ways reflecting the UK’s desire to ensure efficiency by focusing on contributions that add value, is nonetheless a cause for concern. Many are anxious to see what it implies in view of broader investments in health systems and funding through multilateral organizations.
The UK is at the forefront of integrative thinking about development problems and using a diverse array of instruments, which will include working more effectively with the private sector. A private sector department has been established within DFID and private sector engagement is an increasingly important element of DFID’s approach to agriculture. It is also evident that more attention will be paid to integration between work in development and UK foreign policy objectives, specifically national security concerns, which is in line with the desire to ensure development priorities are reflected across UK government priorities more broadly.
The blending of development and security priorities is a controversial point, which has been picked up in the Guardian’s development blog as well as amongst the international and domestic NGO community. There are concerns that blending development and security objectives will lead to a “militarization” of development cooperation and will detract from the overall goal of poverty reduction. Similarly, there are many within the development community that voice concerns that increased focus on results and value for money may impact the extent to which the UK supports country-level priorities and the ability of UK development cooperation to reach the most vulnerable.
In January 2013, a coalition of 100 UK development charities and faith groups launched the “Enough Food For Everyone IF” Campaign to lobby Prime Minister Cameron to use the UK’s G8 presidency in 2013 to leverage action on ending global hunger.
the UK profile