UK Releases Aid Review Results

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell. Photo by: John McIlwaine / United Nations

Following Britain’s multilateral and bilateral aid reviews, four United Nations agencies will see their U.K. funding withdrawn, while 16 nations will have their bilateral programs with the donor country stopped by 2016.

>> DfID Aid Reviews: Winners and Losers

Multilateral aid review

The review of the U.K.’s 43 multilateral aid partners, which was announced in June, has recommended the suspension of British contributions to four U.N. agencies.

The U.K.’s Department for International Development will withdraw its core funding altogether for four organizations whose contribution to U.K. development objectives has been “so poor,” according to the review.

The move will allow more than 50 million pounds ($81 million) in U.K funding to be “redirected immediately to better-performing agencies,” U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell told the House of Commons on March 1.

These organizations include:

- U.N. Human Settlements Program, or UN-HABITAT, which the review found to have overlapping work in some areas covered by other organizations, including the U.N. Development Program and UNICEF. The organization also does not operate under a “presumption of disclosure,” as it does not publish full details on project performance, according to the review.

- International Labor Organization, which has “weak” cost control and “limited evidence of central efficiency saving effort,” according to the review. Working in fragile states is not a focus area for ILO and it has demonstrated “limited evidence of tangible gender results,” the review notes.

- U.N. Industrial Development Organization, which the review found lacking “a systematic approach” to managing results, as well as a specific disclosure policy. UNIDO has demonstrated limited evidence in supporting its partners to “think about value for money,” according to the review.

- U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, which the review deemed to have failed to peform its international coordination role “particularly well,” focusing more at the national level, despite its global mandate. UNISDR has also failed to develop strategic priorities, the review notes.

The U.K. is also placing another four organizations under “special measures,” demanding that they improve their performance “as a matter of urgency,” the review states.

These organizations, which include UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Organization for Migration, and Commonwealth Secretariat, have two years to reform their operations, according to Mitchell, warning that DfID funding for them may be cancelled if no improvements are made.

“These organisations offer poor value for money for UK aid but have a potentially critical niche development or humanitarian role which is not well covered elsewhere in the international system or contribute to broader UK Government objectives,” Mitchell said.

Two groups, each composed of nine organizations were assessed as either adequate or poor. The eight organizations mentioned above belong to the “poor” category.

“Where these organisations are potentially important to UK development objectives but under performing we will monitor their performance closely and respond to improvements when we are confident that they offer value for money. Equally where multilateral organisations fail to improve we will reconsider our support,” the review says.

Meanwhile, the British government has pledged to increase its contributions to nine organizations that provide “very good value for the British taxpayer,” according to Mitchell.

These include the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, Private Infrastructure Development Group, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Asian Development Bank, World Bank’s International Development Association, and UNICEF. Funding increases for UNICEF and IDA have already been announced, while exact amounts for the remaining organizations will be revealed “in the following months as we negotiate and agree their commitments to results and reform,” according to the review.

>> UK Pledges More Funds for UNICEF

Sixteen organizations were rated as “good or adequate value for money” including the U.N. Development Program and World Health Organization. These groups may see increased funding “linked to evidence of results or significant,” the review notes.

Mitchell said the U.K. expects to see “a series of reforms and improvements” in these organizations in the coming year.

Bilateral aid review

Emerging nations China and Russia, along with 14 other countries, will have their bilateral programs with the U.K. government halted by 2016 as part of Britain’s bilateral aid review.

These nations include Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cambodia, Gambia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kosovo, Lesotho, Moldova, Niger, Serbia and Vietnam.

The U.K.’s bilateral programs will cease in these 16 nations, some immediately, while others will close in the next five years after graduating as British aid recipients, according to a March 1 statement by DfID.

Britain will focus its development resources on 27 nations, which Mitchell said account for three-quarters of global maternal mortality, nearly three-quarters of global malaria deaths and almost two-thirds of children out of school.

These countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The U.K. will also have  three regional programs in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, as well as development programs in three aid-dependent overseas territories – St. Helena, the Pitcairn Islands and Montserrat.

The U.K.’s sector priorties include wealth creation, governance and security, climate change, and the Millennium Development Goals on health, education, poverty, and water and sanitation. 

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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.