UK Parliamentary report on forced displacement in Africa calls for UK national strategy

The UK Parliament’s International Development Committee has published a new report, Forced Displacement in Africa: Anchors Not Walls, following its inquiry into how the Department for International Development (DFID) is responding to forced displacement on the continent. According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 20 million refugees and internationally displaced people live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report called DFID an international leader for its work in providing education to refugee children and praised DFID for its work helping host countries like Ethiopia provide refugees access to jobs. However, the report called on the UK government to lead by example in this area, arguing that DFID could not continue to ask the world’s poorest countries to grant refugees the right to work while the UK government significantly limits asylum seekers’ right to work in the UK. The report recommended that the UK Government establish a national strategy on migration and forced displacement and improve the way it reports on its programming, given that currently it is impossible to assess how much the UK has spent on addressing migration and force displacement. 

Report - UK Parliament's International Development Committee

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UK sets up global fund to end period poverty

The UK government has pledged to give £2 million (US$2.5 million) to organizations working to end period poverty globally, and has also set aside £250,000 (US$321,000) to create a taskforce comprising government departments, charities, and private enterprises to tackle the issue. The UK government estimates that half of all women and girls in poor countries are forced to use rags, cloths, grass, and paper when they menstruate due to the high cost of sanitary products. 

News article - Reuters

ICAI reviews UK’s International climate finance investments

The UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICA) has undertaken a review of the UK’s climate-related investments abroad. The review found that both the Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have strategies in place that promote low-carbon development and that there is emerging evidence that UK investments are contributing to transformational change, particularly by building the willingness and capacity of financial markets to take on low-carbon investments. However, the review recommends that the UK refresh the strategy and enhance its communication around its investments and results achieved.

Review - ICAI 

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UK prime minister announces new development assistance package for Jordan

UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced at the 'Jordan: Growth and Opportunity' conference in London a new package of development assistance to help create new jobs, boost productivity, and increase the country’s resilience. This support includes the UK's underwriting a £250 million (US$321 million) World Bank loan to Jordan, contributing £14 million (US$18 million) to a new World Bank trust fund, and a £50 million (US$64 million) loan to a multi-donor trust fund aimed at creating jobs for young people in Jordan.

These new commitments will take the UK’s bilateral support to Jordan up to £650 million (US$836 million) over five years, doubling the UK’s previous funding.

Press release – Department for International Development

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UK to invest up to £30 million in new partnership with African Union

The UK Minister of State for Africa, Harriet Baldwin, has signed a new partnership with the Africa Union on behalf of the UK government that includes up to £30 million (US$39 million) of new projects aimed at building prosperity and security across the continent. The funding, to be disbursed over three years, will be used to train peacekeepers in Kenya, to assist in ensuring free and fair elections across the continent, and to support the next phase of negotiations around the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The partnership follows the rapid expansion of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s diplomatic network on the continent.

Press release - Department for International Development 

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UK pledges additional £200 million in humanitarian assistance for Yemen

The Department for International Development has announced an additional £200 million (US$269 million) in humanitarian assistance for Yemen ahead of the High-Level Pledging Conference for Yemen organized by the Swedish and Swiss Governments on February 26, 2019 in Geneva. UK humanitarian aid will help feed millions of people in Yemen and provide water and sanitation.  Since the start of the four-year conflict, the UK has committed £770 million (US$1 billion) in humanitarian assistance to Yemen.

Press release – DFID 

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New report finds UK's 0.7% commitment key to maintaining influence in UN post-Brexit

The UK branch of the United Nations Association (UNA) has produced a new report exploring the impact of the UK leaving the European Union on its ability to  wield influence in the UN system. Undertaken by academics and involving extensive interviews with senior diplomats and officials, the report highlights concerns that the UK will face considerable challenges in maintaining its current relatively high level of influence in the UN once it has left the European Union.

The report argues, though, that the UK’s influence can be maintained if it invests in multilateralism and provides clear, values-driven leadership.  In particular, the report recommends that the UK should keep its commitment to the UN target of delivering 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA).

Report - Global Britain in the United Nations

News article - The Guardian

Analysis - Bond

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NGOs criticize UK's focus on low-income countries in its development assistance

The Guardian newspaper has reported on a leaked private letter from a number of  NGOs to UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) Philip Hammond criticizing UK development assistance for not always going to those countries that need it most. The letter highlights growing concerns from 23 NGOs that some UK development assistance is being diverted from the poorest countries in order to meet UK commercial and political interests. The NGOs are particularly concerned about assistance that is disbursed outside of the Department for International Development (DFID), which channels about 72% of UK development funding.  

News article - The Guardian

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UK Labour party defends DFID and contrasts its approach with Conservative Party

Dan Carden, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development and Member of Parliament for Labour, has defended the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) in a recent article in the New Statesman political magazine. Carden champions DFID’s global leadership role on international development assistance, in light of recent threats by some members of the Conservative Party to merge it with the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Carden also highlights his party's development strategy, saying that a Labour government would end all use of development assistance to privatize basic services overseas and instead work towards building universal public health systems, education, and clean energy energy abroad. Labour would also increase funding to grassroots women’s groups and prioritize civil society funding, as well as addressing trade and tax policies. 

Article – New Statesman

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UK outlines planning for global development in event of no-deal Brexit

Bond, the network of UK NGOs, has published a recent letter from Nick Dyer, Director-General for Economic Development at the Department for International Development (DFID), that outlines DFID's plans in the event the UK exits the EU with no separation deal. The letter is in response to growing concerns from Bond on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on UK development cooperation. 

The letter clarifies UK NGOs eligibility for EU funding in the case of a no-deal Brexit across a number of EU funding instruments. It also recognizes concerns around currency fluctuations as a result of Brexit, but notes that under DFID contracts currency liabilities are the service provider's responsibility. Finally, the letter assures Bond members that while a number of DFID staff have been called upon to support the UK government's overall Brexit planning processes, there will be sufficient staff in place to maintain quality programming in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Letter - Bond

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