Under the terms of the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015, the government has a legal duty to meet the United Nations target to spend 0.7% of the country’s income on overseas development every year. Development aid, also referred to as overseas aid or development assistance, “is when support, expertise or finance is supplied by one government to help the people of another country”.
The 2017 Conservative manifesto promised “global leadership on development”, including the introduction of new rules regarding the spending of aid to ensure that it is spent more effectively.
UK development spending follows a set of internationally agreed criteria known as Official Development Assistance, outlined by the Development Assistance Committee, part of the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD),which represents thirty of world’s leading donor nations.
Since the manifesto, the UK has had success in making changes to these criteria. For example, in October 2017 the UK secured a promise to increase the proportion of aid spending that can be contributed to peacekeeping missions, up from 7% to 15%. The UK also succeeded in changing the rules on restrictions around using aid for support in times of crises or natural disasters. Previously, if countries were deemed too wealthy they were ineligible for ODA, but under the new rules they can receive aid in certain circumstances. These changes followed earlier UK government input on updates to ODA rules which aimed to “clarify the eligibility of activities involving the military and the police as well as activities preventing violent extremism”.
The manifesto promised global leadership on development, including changes to rules around aid spending. The adjustments to Official Development Assistance criteria, led by the UK, demonstrate that the government has delivered on this promise, so we’re marking it as ‘done’. We’ll keep tracking for changes until the end of this government’s term, so follow this policy for updates.
Aid your development – get the details!
- UK leadership secures vital progress to modernise international aid rules – Gov.uk
- Statistics on International Development – Gov.uk
- Leaving no one behind: The United Kingdom’s approach and priorities – OECD iLibrary
- Development Co-Operation Report 2018: Joining Forces to Leave No One Behind – Development Assistance Committee
- The Definition and Administration of ODA – Parliament.uk
- Spending 0.7% on UK aid – and in the national interest – Gov.uk
- New aid rules allow for the inclusion of a wider set of peace and security activities – Development Initiatives