Commonwealth Secretariat Raises Concern Over UK Multilateral Aid Review

Kamalesh Sharma, head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, speaks at th e2010 Commonwealth Day press conference on March 8. The Commonwealth Secretariat is contesting some of the findings of the U.K. multilateral aid review, which recommended that the secretariat undertake reforms in the next two years or face U.K. funding cut. Photo by: Commonwealth Secretariat

The Commonwealth Secretariat has contested some of the findings of the U.K. multilateral aid review, which found that the secretariat “had not performed strongly.” 

Nonetheless, the organization remains ready to work with the U.K. Department for International Development to address the issues raised in the review, it said in a recently released statement.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, a voluntary association of 54 countries aimed at advancing democracy and development, is one of the four organizations that the U.K. placed under “special measures,” or those on which the British government demands improvement in performance over the next two years. Funding from DfID for these organizations may be cancelled if no improvements are made, according to U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell.

>> UK Releases Aid Review Results

“It is noted initially that the assessment considers specifically the Secretariat’s contribution to UK development objectives. It will be evident that this may not fully take into account the fact that the Secretariat derives and delivers its mandates based on the agreed collective priorities of member governments,” the secretariat said.

The secretariat acknowledged that it has only “a small scale delivery role” given its budget of less than 50 million pounds ($81.3 million), “with only a proportion” of this allocated to technical assistance and capacity building.

“This compares unfavourably with multilateral and bilateral funds that are in the range of several billion pounds,” according to the secretariat.

The International Labor Organization and United Nations Industrial Development Organization, two of the four U.N. agencies facing U.K. funding withdrawal, have also earlier expressed dissatisfaction with the review’s findings .

>> UK Aid Review: ILO, UNIDO Defend Performance, Eye Future Partnership with UK

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About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.