Letter published in The Guardian on 5 June 2010
Andrew Mitchell, the new secretary of state for international development, has announced a new regime of transparency and accountability in how Britain's aid is spent. Welcome as that is, questions remain about what to measure, which means discussing the aims, and how to do it without distorting those aims.
International Alert recently took part in a meeting with ten Dutch INGOs and representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss local governance in the DRC.
In 2006, elections were held in the DRC amid high hopes that they would bring about positive change for Congolese people and mark a turning point after decades of weak and unaccountable governance, which remains a primary driver of this country’s instability.
We reported in the last e-bulletin that International Alert has been lobbying for changes in the way that overseas development aid works for conflict affected countries.
Since that report, when we told you that we had met Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for International Development, we have met a number of other parliamentarians and advisers who are playing a key role in drafting the forthcoming Department for International Development White Paper. This will be a crucial opportunity to shape the way that future aid is designed and delivered by the UK.
Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP), a consortium supported by the European Union and led by International Alert, recently launched six synthesis papers which summarise lessons learnt, conclusions and recommendations drawn from evidence-based research conducted in the last year and a half by Alert and its partners.
On 4th June, the World Bank’s Board of Directors discussed the new two-year country interim assistance strategy for Nepal. The new plan aims to address key elements of the peace process, including the foundations for state building, growth and improved basic service delivery for Nepal’s poor. It includes a clear commitment to improve the sensitivity of Bank-supported projects to the root causes of the conflict and the social tensions in the country.
The Advocates for a Peace Covenant (APC), a group of Filipino peace practitioners convened by International Alert’s former Board Member and Senator Bobby Tanada and Alert’s Senior Policy Adviser Ed Garcia, recently initiated a consultation on a Peace Covenant based on the respect for human rights and the pursuit of social justice in the Philippines.
This month we welcomed the publication of the UK's new White Paper on International Development, potentially the most ambitious reform of the way British aid is designed and delivered since 1997.
Taken from Dan Smith’s blog, which can be found at www.dansmithsblog.com
It can be safely predicted that ideas and the terms of discussion about international development will change fundamentally in the coming five years. A major policy statement from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) marks an important milestone on this road, though it’s a long way from being the endpoint. In this very long post, I explore the White Paper and a way of taking DFID’s logic forward.
These are extraordinary times for those who work in overseas development. We are living through a recession of historic proportions, and yet thus far there are few overt calls for a reduction in overseas development aid. The main questions for the 2010 election will be about public spending: where to make cuts, and how deep should they be? In the past, faced with similar pressures, there would have loud and widely voiced calls for a retrenchment of overseas development assistance (ODA), and a refocusing of government priorities on issues closer to home.
International Alert supports a series of small post-conflict initiatives in Burundi. And some of the values that motivate these are also dear to the liberal hearts of the international community.
International Alert and the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) will be hosting a panel debate on the future of overseas development aid, Moving Beyond the Millennium Development Goals on September 8th at the RCS in London.
This event comes two weeks before the UN General Assembly will review progress against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and coincides with the launch of a new International Alert report which questions the usefulness of the MDGs.
Heads of State will meet in New York on 20th - 22nd September this year to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were agreed by UN Member States ten years ago to inspire increased investment and effort to improve people’s lives in developing countries. These include important measures such as infant and maternal mortality, school attendance, household incomes and hunger, amongst others.
In just two years’ time, elections in Sierra Leone will mark a decade since the end of the bloody civil war. Since the war was officially declared over, there have been some notable achievements. The country’s first peaceful and democratic handover of power from one political party to another took place in 2007. Free health care for all pregnant and breastfeeding women has been introduced to combat Sierra Leone’s alarming maternal mortality rate.
Commenting on the outcome of the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, International Alert’s Director of Programmes Phil Vernon says: “As we expected, the summit has ended with commitments of more funding, and a big push to get as far as possible in meeting the MDGs by 2015. But there is also widespread recognition that they will not be met, and that the international community still needs to face up to the challenge of how best to help people and institutions in fragile contexts to make sustainable progress.