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DFID

Penny Mordaunt's vision for international development

12 April 2018

Secretary of state for international development Penny Mordaunt MP presented her vision and prioirities for DFID at the Wellcome Collection today. She highlighted five priorities for international development, including humanitarian assistance, global health partnerships, economic development and security. 

Mordaunt emphasised the importance of aid quality, saying that aid should be measured by the good it does, and not by how much is spent or how it makes the public feel.

We welcome that the secretary of state is putting solidarity with the world’s poorest at the heart of British values, as well as the commitment for the UK to play its part in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Tamsyn Barton, Bond chief executive, says: "It will be vital that the whole of UK government shares the objectives of preventing suffering and building global prosperity for all, leaving no one behind. It is also reassuring to hear a commitment to avoid tied aid.

"However, it would be concerning if today’s proposal distorts the primary objective of aid and development policy and instead promotes the UK's own commercial and security goals. Evidence clearly shows that if aid and development is used to serve the UK’s national interests it will be less effective and poorer value for money. UK values are better reflected by keeping those we seek to help at the heart of what we do." See full statement.

5 priorities for DFID

  1. Humanitarian assistance – the secretary of state said that it is in the UK's interest to increase other countries’ resilience, and that this will require agencies and suppliers to share data and collaborate. She also announced that a new Humanitarian Innovation Hub would be set up to increase the capability to protect people who cannot protect themselves.
  2. Global health – using NHS expertise to contribute towards global health security across a wide range of areas, including antimicrobial resistance and pandemics, with a continued focus on family planning and fighting diseases including polio, malaria and AIDS. Mordaunt also announced an extension of the programme on nutrition to a further 5million people.
  3. Security – using cross-government efforts to directly tackle national security threats, including new country-level programmes to fight extremism and organised crime. DFID will have an objective of reducing the need for emergency and humanitarian support, and new programming to support human rights.
  4. Developing economies and human capital – Mordaunt announced a new trade offer partnering with the City of London to unlock investment in emerging markets in Africa and Asia, which would aim to deliver the Global Goals alongside a financial return for the UK. Additionally, this would create new investment opportunities for British pension funds. A unit focused on business integrity was announced to tackle corruption and support human rights.
  5. The Great Partnership – connecting all Britain has to offer in expertise, knowledge and resource to enable new levels of contribution and inclusion of small, local organisations. 

Other notable points

  • Mordaunt said that Brexit provides an opportunity to project British values of freedom, equality, democracy, free trade and cooperation on the global stage, adding that a global Britain must be a country that the rest of the world wants to engage with.
  • She said low levels of trust for how aid is spent need to be addressed. 
  • She also defended the 0.7% aid budget and stated that DFID’s offer needs to be “a national mission that we can all unite behind”.
  • Concerns with how Official Development Assistance (ODA) is spent across government were addressed, as she highlighted a meeting she convened of all ODA-spending departments, and a “package of tools” that DFID will create to ensure programmes are well-designed. 

Read Penny Mordaunt's full speech.