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close this bookEliminating World Poverty: A Challenge for the 21st Century - White paper on international development (DFID - The Stationery Office, 1997, 86 p.)
close this folderSECTION 2 - Building Partnerships
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe Complexities of Development
View the documentMultilateral Development Assistance
View the documentThe Bilateral Programme - Partnerships for Development
View the documentThe Bilateral Programme - Partnerships in Britain

The Bilateral Programme - Partnerships for Development

2.19 The Government believes that genuine partnerships between poorer countries - including developing countries and relevant middle income countries such as countries in transition and Dependent Territories - and the donor community are needed if poverty is to be addressed effectively and in a coherent way. The establishment of such partnerships moves beyond the old conditionalities of development assistance and will require political commitment to poverty elimination on both sides. We hope that developing countries will be ready to set out their strategies for moving towards the achievement of the targets, and share their plans internally as well as externally so that civil society is consulted about national priorities and can use its voice to strengthen commitment to the implementation of pro-poor policies.

2.20 We, together with the rest of the international community, must be ready to respond accordingly and to commit resources over extended periods in support of sound national development strategies designed to achieve sustainable development and the elimination of poverty. These strategies will depend on individual country circumstances, but be developed on the basis of common principles. Working in long-term partnerships will also make possible better coordination among donors, which is another objective of the international development strategy. Countries with limited administrative capacity should not have to negotiate separate country plans with each of the major bilateral donors and the multilateral agencies. We will encourage strengthened donor coordination, with the lead taken by the most appropriate agency in each particular country or sector.

2.21 Where low-income countries are committed to the elimination of poverty and pursuing sensible policies to bring that about, the Government will be ready to enter a deeper, long-term partnership and to provide:

· a longer term commitment
· an enhanced level of resources
· greater flexibility in the use of resources

The Government expects to have such partnerships with many of the very poor countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The basis for such partnerships is set out in Panel 14.

2.22 Within such partnerships, the different types of assistance may include capital aid (financial support for specific projects or activities); programme aid (balance of payments and budgetary support); technical co-operation (transfer of skills, whether from outside or within the country, including training and scholarships) and schemes managed through our diplomatic posts. What we do in any particular country will take into account what the countries themselves are doing, what they want us to do, what other donors are doing, and what particular contribution we are best able to provide. Where we have confidence in the policies and budgetary allocation process and in the capacity for effective implementation in the partner government, we will consider moving away from supporting specific projects to providing resources more strategically in support of sector-wide programmes or the economy as a whole. In this way the government concerned can develop the capacity to deliver services on a permanent basis.

2.23 In a number of countries, all of the criteria for such a government-to- government partnership will not be fulfilled. This may be the result of success - because countries have progressed beyond the stage of their economic development where we would be justified in making available substantial concessional financial resources. It may be the result of failure - because governments have failed to demonstrate their commitment to the elimination of poverty. And there are countries in which the UK is not well-placed to make an effective impact, where others must lead. We have limited financial and human resources and it is right to concentrate our bilateral programmes on priority areas where the needs are greatest and where we can achieve results. Elsewhere we will work primarily within the multilateral system to provide support. Relationships will evolve over time. We will make strong efforts to help poor countries with whom we have traditionally worked to meet the criteria for a long-term partnership.

2.24 There will be some circumstances under which a government-to-government partnership is impossible, because the government concerned is not committed to the elimination of poverty, is not pursuing sound economic policies or is embroiled in conflict. Where poor countries are ruled by governments with no commitment to helping the poor realise their human rights, we will help - where we can do so - through alternative channels. These will include the institutions of civil society, voluntary agencies and local government. In such cases our assistance will be tightly focused on the victims of neglect and oppression.



Countries with which we are prepared in principle to embark on a deeper, long-term partnership, involving all forms of assistance, will be low-income, containing a large proportion of poor people.

They will also be countries where the UK is wanted as a partner, has the influence to play a positive role, and a comparative advantage in being able to make a strategic contribution to poverty reduction.

We would expect partner governments to:

· have a commitment to the principles of the agreed international development targets and be pursuing policies designed to achieve these and other UN targets which they have agreed

· be committed to pro-poor economic growth and conservation of the environment, and be pursuing appropriate policies

· wish to engage with us and with the donor community to this end

· pursue policies which promote responsive and accountable government, recognising that governments have obligations to all their people; promote the enjoyment of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights; and which encourage transparency and bear down on corruption in the conduct of both the public service and the business sector

2.25 There will thus be a range of relationships reflecting the circumstances of each country. What will remain consistent is the principle that the level of resources, length of commitment and flexibility in use of resources provided to governments will be related not only to their needs but also to the confidence that we have in their policies and actions.

2.26 Although the prime focus of our partnerships must be on the poorest countries, there are many poor people in middle income countries - 110 million in Latin America alone. We shall therefore seek appropriate ways to contribute to poverty elimination in middle income countries. Resource constraints mean that such countries must be carefully selected, after consideration of factors such as the numbers of poor people, their vulnerability to external forces and disasters, their potential impact on the global environment, and our comparative advantage in being able to contribute to poverty elimination. Middle income countries generally have sufficient financial resources to address their own problems, and substantial resource transfer from the bilateral development programme is not appropriate. We can however offer a partnership based on a broader development co-operation particularly for institution building, sharing skills, experience and technology at a variety of levels within and outside government. Where the UK is not well placed to make an effective contribution, we will work within the multilateral system to provide support.

2.27 Countries in transition to full democratic societies and market economies face particular difficulties. Help for them is a finite commitment, reflecting our special interest in their stability and development as they integrate into the global economic system. The Know How Fund has achieved much but programmes now need to be reshaped to give greater emphasis to protecting the poorest and to enabling the widest number of people to share in the fruits of change. Our new strategy is summarised in Panel 15.

2.28 The Government reaffirms its responsibilities for Britain’s 13 remaining Dependent Territories. Six of them continue to receive substantial UK development assistance, as summarised in Panel 16. The reasonable assistance needs of the Dependent Territories are a first call on the development programme.

2.29 The Government has three objectives in providing development assistance to the Dependent Territories:

· to maximise economic growth and self-sufficiency through sensible economic and financial management leading to graduation from such support, where this objective is feasible

· to ensure in the meantime that basic needs are met, including the provision of essential infrastructure

· to support the good governance of the territories, including the proper management of contingent liabilities and the fulfilment of the UK’s international obligations - particularly human rights and the multilateral environment agreements

The Government has announced a fresh look at its relations with, and responsibilities towards, the remaining 13 dependencies over the coming months.

2.30 We will continue to be swift and effective in our response to emergencies and disasters, seeking not only to save lives but to rebuild livelihoods. This is described at Panel 17.