The Government’s long-awaited International Development Strategy (IDS) was finally published on 16 May. It is important because the strategy will determine how the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget is spent in coming years. Unfortunately, it delivers a vision for development that lacks detail or any financial commitments. And instead of being focused on poverty alleviation and tackling injustice, it promotes British interests, economic development, and trade and investment.
The IDS is likely to direct more money to investments that do not focus directly on reducing poverty and inequality or on saving lives. With the Government’s commitment to return to spending 0.7% of our Gross National Income (GNI) on ODA by 2025, it will be vital to ensure that additional resources are focused on poverty reduction.
The Government says it will increase the proportion of its ODA budget spent on bilateral (country-to-country) support – meaning that funding for multilateral (collaborative) programmes is at risk. For example, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria needs additional funding over the next three years, and it is critical that the UK and other donors work together to ensure ambitious funding remains available for multilaterals like the Global Fund in order to fight poverty and save millions more lives.
In response to the Government’s new strategy, it is important that we show there is public support for targeting ODA spending on fighting global poverty and inequality. Check out the June Action Sheet for more information on why expressing concerns about the Government’s new strategy matters, for arguments that may help you engage with your MP, and for further ideas for taking action.
Image: Krystyna from Ukraine, who has been supported by the work of the Global Fund, a vital multilateral health institution.