Category Archives: International Institutions

UK government reviews aid programmes – what do we think?

Andrew Mitchell MPOn Tuesday Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development announced the results of his Department’s multilateral and bilateral aid reviews. An overview of the results is available here. The reviews were established shortly after the Coalition Government was formed to look at all areas of the Department’s work and make recommendations for changes to make it more effective. The results are the most comprehensive overview we have yet seen of the Government’s approach to international development and therefore the announcement is an important milestone.

Overall RESULTS strongly welcomes the reviews. It is crucial that UK support for developing countries is focused on truly achieving results for poor people and supporting their own efforts to escape poverty. The top-line results that the Department has committed to delivering through both multilateral and bilateral channels over the next four years to 2015 are:

  • Secure schooling for 11 million children
  • Help vaccinate more children against preventable diseases than there are people in the whole of England
  • Provide access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation to more people than there are in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Save the lives of 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth
  • Stop 250,000 newborn babies dying needlessly
  • Support 13 countries to hold freer and fairer elections
  • Help 10 million more women get access to modern family planning
  • Provide 50 million people with the means to help work their way out of poverty [by providing them with access to financial services]
  • Stop 10 million more children going hungry
  • Help halve malaria deaths in 10 of the worst affected countries
  • Help millions of poor people protect their livelihoods from the impact of climate change.

Below we discuss the two reviews in more detail, and while we are broadly supportive of their contents we raise a few questions on specific decisions, as well as pointing out the need for further information on funding decisions and the specifics of country-level programmes. Continue reading

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A New Vaccine – Saving Children’s Lives

We are thrilled to be able to report that the first children in the world have begun to receive their vaccinations against the world’s biggest child killer — pneumonia. These children are in Kenya, and they are the first wave of vaccinations that are currently heading out to 40 developing countries.

This is tremendous news, and the difference this will make in the world really can’t be overstated. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has prepared an introductory video.

Pneumococcal disease currently takes the lives of over a million of people every year – including more than half a million children before their fifth birthday. Pneumonia is the most common form of serious pneumococcal disease and accounts for 18% of child deaths in developing countries, making it one of the two leading causes of death among young children.

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Free Trade Agreement could threaten medicines for world’s poor

India has been described at the ‘pharmacy of the developing world’, providing a high proportion of the cheap drugs used by people living in poor countries.  But this could now be under threat as the European Union negotiates a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India.  Campaigners from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and other NGOs are now calling for changes to be made to the agreement to ensure that life-saving drugs will still be available to many of the world’s poor. 

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China: New kid on the development block

In a sign of changing global economic and political influence, with a profound impact on development policy, recent reports show that China has lent more money to developing countries in the last 2 years than the World Bank.  According to research by the Financial Times newspaper, the China Development Bank and China Export – Import Bank made loans of at least $110bn, compared with just over $100bn by the World Bank. Continue reading

Is the IMF Damaging Health?

Earlier this week the Guardian published an article titled Poor countries with IMF loans ‘divert aid from public health’,which discusses research led by Oxford University that highlights the relationships between IMF borrowing and spending on public health and shows that there is a high correlation between countries taking IMF financing and very low levels of public expenditure on health. Continue reading

World Bank Announces $49.3 Billion Funding Package for 2011-2013

This week international negotiations concluded and agreed to the continued work and funding of the International Development Association (IDA, the part of the World Bank that provides assistance to the poorest countries) for the next three years. A key outcome of these negotiations has been the renewed UK Governments’ commitment to fight poverty by investing in the World Bank. Continue reading

Cancun summit on climate change: will it deliver for the poor?

This week world leaders are meeting in Cancun for ‘COP-16’, the latest of the summits convened to negotiate the global response to climate change through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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