Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

And what next for development policy?

Sometime last year on this blog, we reviewed the Labour and Conservative green papers on international development. Jayne reviewed Labour's 'Building a Common Future' and I gibbered on about ‘One World Conservatism’. No one looked at the Lib Democrats consultation paper on international development. I don’t think even they did.

Despite not waxing lyrical about One World Conservatism, Jayne and I both agreed the conservative green paper was the fresher document and had more ideas in it – at least I think we did.

Andrew Mitchell, the conservative MP, is the new Secretary of State for International Development meaning we're likely to see a lot of those ideas I looked at in One World Conservatism turned into policy.

As proposed in the Conservative green paper, we'll get some of the standard policies such as increasing aid transparency and commitment to raising the aid budget to 0.7% of GNI - although there's no time frame for achieving this and some new ones.

There'll be a root and branch review of the 108 countries that receive aid from DFID designed to focus aid and make it more effective. Aid flows to countries like China that are deemed to have sufficient resources to cater for their own development needs will be cut back. I'm not sure how many countries this will affect given China is almost unique in this respect.

There'll be anti fraud officers introduced to tackle corruption on 'UKaid' projects with a direct telephone lines set up for people to report graft.

As part of handing power back to the people - I find this idea amusing, we vote for a government only for it to give us back some of the power we voted to give it - the 'My Aid Fund' which should be £40 million in its first year, will give us all the chance to vote on where and how aid is spent. Yes. It warms the heart a little.

Overall, there’ll be a lot of continuity within DFID, some new policies will be introduced but mostly to stamp conservative colours on international development rather than to make any radical changes to DFID which was one of the most successful government departments under Labour.


Blogger Jayne said...

I found it hard to believe this myself. But you're right, i did prefer the tory policy.
But the idea of that voting thing fills me with dread.

15 May, 2010 17:45  

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