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ONE reacts to Priti Patel’s first departmental review: Transparency key to success of UK Aid

ANTI-POVERTY group ONE today welcomed the focus on global security and transparency outlined in the newly released Bilateral Development Review (BDR) and Multilateral Development Review (MDR) by DFID – but cautioned the government department not to lose focus of its poverty reducing purpose, especially in the least developed countries, while building partnerships with the private sector.

The first major review of the UK’s approach to international development under the stewardship of International Development Secretary Priti Patel outlined how Britain will renew its approach to ending extreme poverty and support the world’s poorest.

Speaking upon the reviews release today, (THURS), interim UK Director of ONE Saira O’Mallie, said: “The reviews paint a positive picture of UK aid and the assertive direction that the Government is taking, including the necessarily high standards that organisations supported by UK aid must meet. 

 “The emphasis on value for money, transparency and impact are goals that civil society can whole-heartedly support because this pivotal trio of policies will raise the effectiveness of UK aid even further.

 “The review shows innovative thinking – for example deploying British expertise on security and stability to tackle the problems the world is facing today. The BDR sets out the direction of travel for ending extreme poverty, made even more urgent and challenging when working in unstable and high-conflict areas, plagued by poor governance, lack of infrastructure, stability, and corruption.

 “Amid the renewed vigour outlined in the report to lead the world towards long-term sustainable development, DFID must maintain UK aid’s poverty fighting purpose. Without this it will let down the millions who look to Britain for help and inspiration, and UK taxpayers who generously help those with such great need.”

The BDR focuses on aid given directly by the UK to be spent in specific countries. The MDR looks at aid given through large multilateral organisations – such as The World Bank and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria – to fight extreme poverty.

In both reviews, the main focus is improved transparency, value for money and impact from UK aid.

The reports come days after the announcement that more of UK aid could be spent by the CDC, the private investment arm of DFID. The focus would be to boost business and commerce in developing countries, however there have been some concerns voiced by the NGO sector for the CDC’s poor record on transparency and accountability.

O’Mallie added: “While emphasising the private sector in development is a good thing, the CDC must meet the utmost levels of transparency and focus on development impact.”