Focusing Aid On Addressing Global Poverty In U.K.’s National Interest

Devex: Opinion: What does spending in the ‘national interest’ mean for U.K. aid?
Romilly Greenhill, U.K. director of the ONE Campaign

“U.K. aid is in a state of flux … Aid is increasingly being spent in ‘the national interest,’ through departments other than the U.K. Department for International Development. … But what does spending aid in the national interest mean for Britain’s role in the fight against poverty, what trends are starting to emerge, and should we be worried about them? The increase in national interest rhetoric has dovetailed with the increase in aid spending outside of DFID, with other government departments looking to official development assistance to plug gaps where other funds have dwindled. … In principle, there is nothing wrong with aid being spent by different parts of government. … The issue arises when aid spending — whoever it is spent by — is not sufficiently poverty-focused, effective, or transparent. … [I]t’s important not to lose sight of aid’s purpose — fighting poverty — and the degree to which the public support this laudable objective. And let’s not also forget that it is by tackling poverty — and its underlying causes — that we can make the world a healthier, more peaceful, prosperous world that is in all our interests” (7/10).

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