Britain has today set out its commitments on international development over the next two years of government.
The Coalition government underlined its promise to deliver real results from UK aid whilst ensuring value for money for taxpayers in a mid-term review of its programme so far.
The review - titled “Together in the national interest” - reiterated the government’s backing for an aid programme that helps to promote prosperity and stability for all.
It also reaffirmed its commitment to spend 0.7% of the UK’s national income on overseas aid by the end of 2013 - and to put this pledge into law.
In the section headed [Standing tall in the world’ the review states:
This Government believes that helping very poor people in other parts of the world to achieve a greater measure of prosperity is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do.
Our strategy is to tackle the root causes of poverty - not just the symptoms. We believe that open societies and open economies are the building blocks of prosperity and that it is in everyone’s interest to promote stability in parts of the world where conflict and terrorism might otherwise flourish.
Today’s publication also highlighted some of the key results UK aid is set to achieve by 2015, including:
- Providing access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene for up to 60 million people
- Supporting 11 million children in school - more than we educate in the UK, but at 2.5% of the cost
- Vaccinating more children against preventable diseases than the whole population of England
- Stopping 250,000 babies dying unnecessarily
- Saving the lives of 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth
- Supporting 13 countries to hold free and fair elections
The results set out follow a fundamental review of where British aid is spent, which ended aid to 16 countries that no longer need it, such as Russia and China.
The UK has also moved to a new development relationship with middle-income countries such as India, so that Britain’s support can be focused on the poorest.
UK aid and the G8
Over the past year, the Prime Minister has set out a new direction for development - emphasising a focus on growth and jobs alongside social and political progress, such as equality for women and effective public institutions.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
I believe the UK’s track record on aid gives us the legitimacy to use this G8 in a radically different way by supporting what I call the ‘golden thread’ of conditions that enable open economies and open societies to drive prosperity and growth for all.
These include the rule of law, the absence of conflict and corruption, and the presence of property rights and strong institutions.
Britain will host G8 leaders for talks on 17-18 June 2013. Read the priorities for the summit at: www.number10.gov.uk/news/uk-assumes-presidency-of-the-g8/