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Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

Use our aid budget in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals

Last updated: 02:17pm 8 December 2019

We will continue to use our aid budget in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, to end extreme poverty, save children’s lives, and provide an education for girls.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.39

Our verdict

In 2015, all member states of the United Nations – including the UK – adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Signatories are expected to contribute towards ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice and promoting economic growth while tackling climate change. Moreover, that year, the UN created a legal obligation for member states to spend 0.7% of their gross domestic product on overseas aid to developing countries. This policy is a promise to spend that aid budget in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the 20th of June 2019, the National Audit Office published a report on the effectiveness of development assistance, confirming that the government has reached its 0.7% spending target every year, amidst implementation and performance monitoring issues. Following this, on June 26th the government issued its voluntary review into progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, demonstrating “domestic and international work on all 17 Goals”. However, the Department for International Development (DfID) has been criticised for using development assistance to finance school privatisation, fracking, and private equity.

The UN framework says how much a nation should spend in development assistance, but it does not make specific spending provisions towards the 17 Global Goals. Regardless of implementation issues and criticisms, the government has maintained the UN spending target and used this to progress towards all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, domestically and internationally. This policy is ‘done’.

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