An influential group of UK Conservative members of parliament, the One Nation Caucus, which represents a third of all Conservative Party parliamentary members, has released a new report on reforming the UK’s approach to international development.
The report makes several recommendations including calling for the UK to shift the focus of its development budget away from exclusively focusing on poverty reduction to also supporting liberal values and human rights.
The report also calls on the UK to maintain its commitment to spending 0.7% of its gross national income on official development assistance (ODA), but it recommends that the annual target become a multi-year target over a rolling period, to enable greater spending stability and to avoid departments feeling compelled to spend at the end of the year to meet the commitment.
Other recommendations include:
- Continuing to focus UK development assistance on fragility, girls’ education, and gender equality;
- Continuing to work to change the international rules that govern what can be spent on ODA to enable more activities that support peace-keeping;
- Appointing a deputy Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) minister that would be responsible for international development policy and attend the Cabinet;
- Maintaining the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (an independent public body that scrutinizes UK ODA spending); and
- Seeking to create an international development alliance with like-minded nations such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to boost cooperation on shared development assistance priorities.