CARE statement on aid review

25 November 2015: The new UK aid strategy this week sets an important global standard for developed economies’ commitment to the world’s poor. CARE International UK welcomes the global leadership shown by the UK government in maintaining its commitment to increased development spending in its new aid strategy. Going forward, all government departments responsible for aid spending will need to be held accountable to the global standards on aid transparency and poverty alleviation set by DFID.

CEO Laurie Lee, said: 

CARE began in 1945 when British citizens were themselves the recipients of food aid packages from concerned people in the USA following the end of World War Two. Seventy years later, the UK has gone on to be a global leader in delivering aid, and this ongoing tradition of British generosity is something to be proud of. ​

Aid saves lives and gives people opportunities; it is in our interest as it helps to promote peace and security; by stimulating growth and trade, it helps create jobs. In this era of increasingly polarised geo-politics and conflicts around the world, the UK’s commitment on aid is both the right thing to do, and an important strategic decision, as international aid serves as a catalyst for wider international cooperation in troubled times.

CARE specifically recognises the UK government’s commitments with regards to six areas:

  • Development aid – We commend the continued commitment of the UK government to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on international development, and for its global leadership in setting standards for aid effectiveness and transparency. The UK was the first member of the G8 group of rich countries to meet the long-standing UN target and CARE believes that spending 7p out of every £10 on international aid is a relatively small price to pay to prevent unnecessary deaths and help people around the world remove themselves from the cycle of poverty.

  • Humanitarian aid and crisis prevention – We welcome the increase in funding for humanitarian response in Syria, where UK leadership has set the standard for levels and quality of humanitarian aid. New commitments to an ODA Crisis Reserve provide an opportunity for the UK to build its expertise as a global leader in innovative approaches to disaster prevention and response in line with a principled humanitarian approach. To save lives inside Syria, Somalia or other warzones, humanitarian agencies need to be able to negotiate with all fighting parties and deliver aid on the basis of humanitarian needs across the conflict divides. The UK has a major opportunity to champion this principled approach to humanitarian action towards the World Humanitarian Summit next year. 

  • Conflict and stability - The UK has shown continued leadership in addressing the drivers of poverty such as instability and corruption by committing resources to these areas. It is right that the UK focuses much of its attention on supporting the most vulnerable people in these contexts and working to deliver both peace and prosperity in fragile states. However, it is essential that work on stability has human rights and good governance at its heart, and abides by the principles of do no harm. Any proposal to renegotiate ODA criteria should be viewed with caution. ODA must have a focus on poverty alleviation and economic and social development. It is vital that the criteria should continue to distinguish between spending on the UK’s security concerns and aid delivered to support the economic and social development of poor people in fragile or conflict-affected states.

  • The focus on women and girls, and eradicating gender-based violence –The UK government’s renewed commitment to focusing on women and girls and to eradicating gender-based violence is to be applauded. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by poverty, disaster and conflict; but they are also crucial catalysts for development. This priority must be taken into all areas of the new aid strategy, including prosperity and economic development, crisis prevention and humanitarian response.

  • Encouraging prosperity and economic development – We welcome the UK government’s focus on economic development and prosperity, and look forward to working with DFID to ensure that the Prosperity fund targets those most in need and reinforces the government’s commitment to women and girls. A focus on women and girls for financial inclusion, micro-investment, employability and entrepreneurship opportunities can deliver real change for poor communities and families. Such a commitment also provides an opportunity for the UK government to fulfil its manifesto commitment to help people in the UK give or lend money directly to entrepreneurs around the world – CARE has already developed an innovative lending platform, lendwithcare.org, that allows the British public to do this.

  • Climate change and resilience – We welcome the commitment by the UK government to increase climate funding. The UK has played a leading role in Europe on the importance of supporting climate change initiatives for developing countries and committing funding towards this. As the impact of climate change on the poorest is felt around the world, it is more important than ever that climate funding is accountable, is additional and equally supports adaptation and emissions reductions.

Ends

To find out more about how CARE fights poverty around the world or to learn more about our history visit www.careinternational.org 

For interviews with Laurie Lee on these issues contact Kathryn Chapman: Chapman@careinternational.org or call 0207 091 6047.