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UK commits to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

The UK’s outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that she will put in place a new legally binding agreement for the UK to produce net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This agreement makes the UK the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions. All emissions produced after 2050 in the UK would be offset by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.

The UK will undertake a review within five years to assess whether other countries are taking similar action to ensure that UK industry is not facing unfair competition.

Web article – Sky News

United Kingdom

Boris Johnson leads the race for next UK prime minister

Boris Johnson MP, former foreign minister, is currently in the lead to be the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister of the UK.

Ten Conservative Party members of parliament (MPs) put their names into the race. Six have received sufficient qualifying votes, including the new secretary of state for international development, Rory Stewart. Conservative MPs will whittle down the remaining candidates over the coming weeks until they reach two, at which time Conservative Party members will hold a deciding vote.

According to Bond, the UK development NGO network, all the remaining candidates have committed (directly or indirectly) to maintaining the 0.7% UK development assistance target. Johnson, however, has been a strong proponent for merging the UK Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and for changing the current rules that govern what the UK can and cannot count as official development assistance. 

Web Article – The Telegraph

Editorial on international development implications - Bond

United Kingdom

UK announces £170 million (US$218 million) in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan

The UK government has announced that it will provide £170 million (US$218 million) of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan over the next five years.

The package will provide urgently needed water, food and medical treatments, including polio vaccinations, for five million people in Afghanistan. Funding will be delivered through the UN, international NGOs, and Afghani NGOs.

Press release - UK Government

UK Labour Party publishes strategy for civil society

The Labour Party, the main parliamentary opposition party in the UK, has set out its vision for civil society, should it win the next general election.  The strategy recognizes the importance of a strong civil society as a bedrock of democracy.

The strategy commits Labour to repealing the Lobbying Act and replacing it with a new Community Empowerment Charter which will set out the boundaries of charity campaigning and fundraising, based on the recommendations from the 2016 Hodgson Review on Third Party Campaigning. The strategy also commits Labour to provide resources for civil society, with the Party stating that it will match any lost EU structural and investment funds for civil society as a result of Brexit.

Civil Society Strategy - UK Labour Party

Web Article – Bond

Third-party campaigning practices - Independent review

United Kingdom

UK Charity Commission issues official warning to British Oxfam for past conduct, but notes recent progress

The UK Charity Commission, which registers and regulates charities in the UK, has published the findings of its inquiry into the handling by Oxfam Great Britain (Oxfam GB) of allegations of sexual exploitation and bullying in Haiti in 2010.

The inquiry found that Oxfam GB’s culture and procedures for dealing with safeguarding were below the organization's standards and that initial reporting of the incident should have been fuller and franker. The inquiry concluded, though, that Oxfam GB has made significant progress since in improving its culture and processes for safeguarding.

The Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change, set up by Oxfam International, also released a report on the incident. The Commission found similar weaknesses in Oxfam’s safeguarding systems and noted that program goals had often been given greater priority by managers than adherence to the 'do no harm' principle.

The UK Government has said it will review its decision about whether to resume funding for Oxfam in due course. The UK Government stopped funding Oxfam GB when the incident came to light. 

Oxfam Inquiry - UK Charity Commission

Report - Oxfam Independent Commission

Web article – Devex

United Kingdom

New report finds UK is on track to meet its nutrition commitments by 2020

A recent report has found that the UK has exceeded its 2017 Nutrition for Growth commitments and is on track to meet its 2020 goals.

The report was produced by Development Initiatives, a UK development data organization as part of the Maximizing the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus initiative; it shows that the UK disbursed US$895 million of nutrition-related official development assistance in 2017. This is 8.2% more than in 2016.

UK spending on nutrition accounted for 11.0% of total UK development assistance in 2017 and was focused on 30 countries. The largest share of funding was provided via humanitarian assistance financing.

Report on nutrition spending - MQSUN and DFID

 

United Kingdom Nutrition

US development contractor Chemonics opens office in UK

The largest US development contractor, Chemonics, has opened its first office in London with the aim of winning more contracts from the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The move is likely to have an impact on British development contractors, who are still adjusting to recent new reforms by DFID aimed at preventing unethical behavior and cronyism in its contractors.

Web Article – DEVEX

Independent review of UK’s Newton Fund criticizes poor design and weak oversight

The Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI), the UK’s external foreign assistance watchdog, has reviewed the UK Government’s £735 million (US$946 million) Newton Fund and found it poorly designed to promote international development.

The Newton Fund is funded through the UK's development assistance budget and focuses on the use of science and innovation partnerships to promote economic development and social welfare of partner countries.

While the review praised the Fund for its innovative research partnerships with developing countries, it found that the Fund's secondary objectives of building ties with partner countries like China, India, Brazil, and South Africa have too often been the main driver of its work at the expense of its main goal, which is to promote international development.

The review was also critical of the fact that 90% of UK funds delivered through the Newton Fund stays in the UK, which constitutes a form of tied assistance. Citing weak oversight mechanisms and poor transparency, the report also called the accountability of the Fund into question.

ICAI – Review of the Newton Fund

Christian Aid calls on UK Government to ensure greater transparency for overseas loans

The UK NGO Christian Aid has called on the UK Government to adopt a new law on overseas loan transparency ahead of the G20 finance minister meeting in France on June 8 and 9, 2019. The new legislation would require all lenders from the UK to disclose loans to foreign governments.

Christian Aid's recent report, The New Global Debt Crisis, highlights concerns of a new mounting debt crisis in the developing  world and notes that the majority of loans in Africa are made under English law because it currently enables a high degree of secrecy. Christian Aid is keen for the UK to change the law to drive greater openness.

The UK Labour Party,  the main opposition party in the UK, has committed to driving though the legislation if it is gains power.

Web Article – Catholic News

Report - Christian Aid

United Kingdom

Big data viewed as most influential technology for development by DFID staff in new survey

Brink, a technology and development consultancy firm, have run their second survey exploring the impact of new technologies on development. The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Department for International Development (DFID) by its Frontier Technologies Hub, showed that DFID staff perceived big data as having the most potential to transform international development in 2019. 

DFID staff ranked software technologies as far more important for changing development in the 2019 survey with financial technology (fintech) and the circular economy coming in the top three most influential technologies. This is in stark comparison to the results of the 2016 survey when DFID staff viewed hardware technologies like condensers, desalinators, solar powered batteries and smart grids as having greater impact than software technologies.  

Web Article - BOND 

Survey - Frontiers Technologies Hub

United Kingdom