News story

Tackling conflict and insecurity

Nine out of ten of the poorest countries in the world are affected by conflict or instability.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Conflict and instability are amongst the most stubborn barriers to successful development. The statistics on conflict and development tell a shocking story of opportunities missed and lives destroyed.

Around two-thirds of the poorest people in Africa struggle to survive in countries that are trapped in, or have recently emerged, from conflict. Globally, half of children who die before their fifth birthday are in fragile states - as are half of the children not in primary school. No low income fragile country has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal - one of the internationally agreed targets to reduce poverty. The UK Government is focussing on its work to tackle conflict to help meet this challenge. 

The Government’s commitment to double UK funding to conflict affected and fragile states will help these people - some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable - to build better, safer and more prosperous lives. This is good development, but it can also help to make us safer at home. 

We are currently reviewing how we should use UKaid to get the best results for poor people. Our approach to Conflict Prevention is based on doing more to help a range of countries avoid falling into conflict - not just working with those that are currently in the headlines.

Work on conflict prevention is difficult and we can’t tackle conflict and instability with development alone. Which is why we are looking at diplomacy, defence and development in a more integrated way. To achieve results we need to work more effectively with military and diplomatic colleagues. But we will always rigorously follow the international rules on what counts as aid. All our aid will be subject to external scrutiny - including from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

In order to meet our commitments, the UK Government is standing by its promises on official development assistance (ODA) to reach 0.7% of GNI from 2013. This has been confirmed in the recent Spending Review and the UK is the first G20 country to set out detailed plans on how this will be achieved. We believe it will put pressure on other governments to keep their promises to the world’s poorest - even in times of austerity at home.

Updates to this page

Published 9 February 2011