Lords criticism of UK aid commitment rebutted

By staff writers
March 29, 2012

The development agency Progressio has responded factually to a critical House of Lords Economics Committee Report on UK Aid and its future.

The report criticises the UK's pledge to commit 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income to overseas aid.

Tim Aldred, Progressio's Head of Policy, commented: "Extreme poverty has halved in recent years, lifting hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty. It is false to imply that development assistance lacks value, and insulting to the dedicated work taking place around the world to end poverty.

"We must continue to act to prevent avoidable deaths and the indignity of poverty," he continued.

"Despite the considerable progress made, nearly a billion people still go to bed hungry every night. It is in this context that the 0.7 per cent target must be upheld. The OECD estimates that in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals to reduce infant and maternal deaths, tackle extreme poverty, and provide universal primary education, aid as a global figure needs to be doubled. The government's support for the UK's promises on aid should be commended, not undermined," said Aldred.

"The report demonstrates a lack of understanding with its apparent preference for humanitarian aid over long term development assistance. Both are crucial. Long term assistance builds resilience to natural disasters, prevents conflicts before they occur, and strengthens livelihoods for the long term. Research consistently shows that every pound spent on disaster preparedness saves four pounds in humanitarian aid, and, more importantly, saves many lives," he added.

"The report makes strange comments on DFID's financial management, without presenting evidence that accountability is lacking. It sets up a false choice between quantity of development aid and quality - both are vital. Quality and accountability are continually being strengthened, for example by the implementation of recent anti-bribery legislation, and greater emphasis on independent evaluation through the new Independent Commissioner for Aid Impact (ICAI)," said Progressio's policy chief.

Progressio is a UK-based charity working internationally to help people gain power over their lives and overcome barriers that keep them poor. www.progressio.org.uk


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