The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) uses its Official Development Assistance (ODA), also known as its overseas aid budget to support and deliver the 4 strategic objectives of the government’s 2015 Aid Strategy which aligns the government’s global efforts to defeat poverty, tackle instability and create prosperity in developing countries. The 4 objectives are:
strengthening global peace, security and governance
strengthening resilience and response to crises
promoting global prosperity
tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable
Formerly known as ‘strategic and bilateral programmes’, these funds support the FCO’s wider diplomatic effort and foreign policy in support of UK interests overseas. All our policy programmes are aligned with strategic objectives and, where appropriate, National Security Council strategies and the Aid Strategy.
Issues supported by our funds include the Chevening Scholarship Programme, Human Rights and Good Governance, and Maritime Security.
This includes working to enrich the quality of education through support to system reform, training teachers of English and developing international school partnerships. They support social enterprise and the creative economy to help build stronger, safer societies through programmes in the rule of law, governance, civil society and the arts.
The UK government’s grant will support The BBC World Service to provide accurate, impartial and independent news and analysis to developing, fragile and closed societies across the globe, including where free speech is limited. The new language services will be distinctive and tailored to the audiences needs in these hard-to-reach, ODA eligible countries. The services will support a positive environment for economic development and stable, lawful, and more democratic societies. Impartial and independent media has been noted by the UN as an ‘essential foundation’ for prosperous and peaceful societies.
The 5 ODA eligible international organisations are the United Nations, Council of Europe, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Commonwealth Foundation and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review announced a £1.3billion cross-Whitehall Prosperity Fund from 2016 to 2021 to promote the economic reform and development needed for growth in partner countries.
Prosperity Fund priorities include:
improving the business climate
competitiveness and operation of markets
energy and financial sector reform
increasing the ability of partner countries to tackle corruption
Transparency and International Aid Transparency Initiative Standards
The FCO publishes the data behind our ODA spend and the supporting programme documentation as part of the UK government’s commitments in the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. This includes a commitment to comply with the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standards (IATI).