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Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

Provide global leadership on development (aid)

Last updated: 10:59am 15 July 2019

Global leadership on development, backed by spending 0.7 per cent of our national income with new rules to spend it more effectively.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.30

Our verdict

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! 

There's always room for debate

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