Update the international rules and definitions of development spending
Last updated: 09:36pm 27 November 2019
Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.39
We do not believe that international definitions of development assistance always help in determining how money should be spent, on whom and for what purpose. So we will work with like-minded countries to change the rules so that they are updated and better reflect the breadth of our assistance around the world. If that does not work, we will change the law to allow us to use a better definition of development spending, while continuing to meet our 0.7 per cent target.
The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) defines Official Development Assistance (ODA) as government aid that specifically promotes growth and welfare in developing countries. This was adopted as the “gold standard” of foreign aid in 1969, and it remains the main source of financing for development aid. This policy is a pledge to seek changes to the rules around ODA, and – if unsuccessful – to use a UK-specific definition instead.
“…we believe unilateral action by the UK to develop and use its own ODA definition would be an own goal.”
In response, the government disagreed with the IDC recommendation, arguing that in exceptional cases the definition should be broadened. It said:
“We are working to prepare an evidence-based proposal for further consideration. A DFID secondee has started at the OECD DAC to help conduct this analysis.”
At the end of the government’s term of office, the outcome of that secondment work is unknown. The government has, however, brought about changes to rules around development assistance. We think that’s enough evidence of success to mark this policy as ‘done’.
Get the details!
- What is ODA? – OECD
- DAC High Level Communiqué: 31 October 2017 – OECD
- Definition and administration of ODA – Parliament.uk
- Appendix 1: Government Response to Committee recommendations on definition of ODA – Parliament.uk
- The current state of UK aid: A synthesis of ICAI findings from 2015 to 2019 – icai.independent.gov.uk
- Provide global leadership on development (aid)
- Maintain commitment of 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on international aid and development
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