Ideas to Action:

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Press Release

CGD’s Take on Britain’s Landmark Global Development Report

February 2, 2015

The UK House of Commons International Development Committee issued a report today, which concluded that foreign aid to poor countries is no longer a sufficient policy to address shared global challenges. The report says the focus should move away from aid and towards an approach that focuses on policy coherence. To do this, the UK government will need work with DFID to have more influence in Whitehall and in developing countries, and it will need to work more closely the multilateral system. Taking these steps will allow the government to maximize the impact of all of the UK’s actions on development.

“Aid is essential if we are to reduce poverty and reach ambitious development and environmental goals. But it isn’t enough. Our policies in the UK on trade, tax, finance, arms or corruption all impact on developing countries,” said Committee Chair Sir Malcolm Bruce MP in a press release. “We need to ensure that policies across Government are joined up and we want DFID to have more influence both in Whitehall and in developing countries.”

In September 2014, Center for Global Development’s Europe Director, Owen Barder, submitted evidence to the IDC in response to its public inquiry for the UK’s future approach to development. In this evidence, Barder explained why “beyond aid” policies are important for development. For example, Barder argued that “beyond aid” policies address the underlying causes of poverty, while aid often addresses the symptoms of poverty.

In addition, the Center for Global Development has long been a supporter of “beyond aid” interventions, such as policies around trade, finance, migration, security, environment and technology transfer, through its annual Commitment to Development Index – which ranks the world’s 27 richest countries based on these policies.

The IDC report draws heavily on Barder’s submitted evidence in calling for the UK government to find new ways of working with both rich and poor countries to support global development.

In response to the report, Barder said:

“The respected cross-party House of Commons International Development Committee is right to recommend that the UK government should look ‘beyond aid’ when thinking about global development.”

“Development is different now. In the twenty-first century, fighting poverty means helping countries rebuild after conflict, helping poor people in countries that are doing well, and tackling cross-border issues like tax, corruption, conflict and migration. It means spreading ideas and promoting human rights and freedom. These problems call for new tools and new skills.  Aid alleviates suffering, and it can contribute to lasting change. But if we are going to tackle the causes of poverty, and not only the symptoms, aid is only a small part of the answer. Development policy in the 21st century means improving the global impacts of all our policies, including trade, finance, migration, environment, security, technology. And it means making our international institutions fit for purpose.”

“We need better policies not only because they benefit the poor but because they benefit all of us. It is in ALL our interests to collect taxes that are due; generate and spread new ideas and knowledge; protect our planet; clamp down on corruption; build institutions that make our world safer and fairer; and to rely a fair and open trading system. Financial instability, infectious diseases, conflict, tax evasion and environmental degradation are all contagious. It is in everyone’s interests to work together to tackle global problems that threaten us all.”

Note to Editors: If interested in speaking with Owen Barder regarding his statement about the IDC report, contact Lauren Post: +1 (202) 416-4040, lpost@cgdev.org