Briefing Paper

Project: Europe Programme

Kevin Watkins
  • The UK is widely recognized as one of the world's most effective aid donors - and its influence has pushed poverty up the international agenda.
  • Global financial and food crises, climate change, unmet aid commitments, outdated global governance structures and China's emergence as a major player in international aid pose challenges and opportunities for Britain's development policy.
  • Although a political consensus regarding Britain's continued role in global poverty reduction efforts has been built, the government and the development community must still argue effectively that continued action remains an integral part of the UK's overall international priorities and its foreign and security policy.
  • Most poor countries are not on target to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Addressing this situation should be at the top of the UK's agenda, incorporating international leadership on aid, pressing for decisive EU action, and responding to the negative effects of the global financial crisis on progress towards the MDGs.
  • At a time of cuts in government spending, the 'cash-on-delivery' framework has received significant attention. However, DFID's experience has shown that problems of incentives and implementation with this approach cannot be ignored.
  • The UK should be leading Western countries in engaging China over aid to Africa in the coming years.

This briefing paper formed part of the project on Rethinking the UK's International Ambitions and Choices