Penny Mordaunt's vision for international development: part 2

21 June 2018

Penny Mordaunt has delivered the second half of her vision in a speech at Chatham House. You can read our summary of her first speech, made on 12 April, here.

The secretary of state for international development began by highlighting some of the challenges her department is facing, both internationally and domestically. She said that the rules-based order of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has become less dependable than it has previously been, and highlighted a lack of public trust in the international development sector as a key problem.

She pointed to the British public’s generosity, such as giving to DEC appeals, but said that despite this there is scepticism about how leaders are spending money. As we leave the EU, she said, we need to get our "mojo" back.

What will Global Britain look like?

Penny Mordaunt said that the public’s vote for Brexit was a vote of "confidence and hope", and that the public want to help others where they can. She said that the UK is strong because it is a democracy and because it embraces international rules, describing it as a protector, capacity builder and a "global 0.7 / 2 percent nation".

She reiterated the pledge of her last speech to make the benchmark for aid that is not just spent well, but couldn’t be spent better, and that where possible it should also directly serve the national interest. She highlighted partnership opportunities with other government departments to "maximise the impact for our nation", such as developing "Brexit ready" trade offers with the Department for International Trade and developing anti-microbial resistance treatments with the Department of Health. 

The secretary of state said that future DFID funding decisions would consider what nations can afford to spend on their own people and whether this is happening, and that they won’t fund things that others can. She spoke of moving from a project-based approach to methodical capacity building to tackle long-term issues, and referred to her first action in post of setting up a new unit for combatting illicit financial flows.

She repeated that the 0.7% aid budget is in line with the nation’s interests and values, and said the challenge is in ensuring that nothing hinders the most effective use of it. She said that DFID was exploring new approaches to finance to do so, and added that the UK would continue to push for reform of the DAC where they feel it is preventing legitimate spending on humanitarian emergencies.

Penny Mordaunt finished her speech by saying that increasingly DFID will be working regionally to connect local people, businesses and organisations with the global work of the department. She said that the "sum of what the country has to offer", rather than the government, would deliver Global Britain.