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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 in Britain

2.31 Just as we want to develop partnerships with developing countries, the Government will seek a new partnership with the UK private sector based on a shared understanding of the role that the public and private sectors - including the commercial private sector, the voluntary sector, academic and research institutions and local as well as central government - can play in development.

Working with British Business

2.32 Overall private capital flows have come to dwarf official flows as a source of funds for development even though they have so far focused on only a few countries, and concessional resource transfers will remain crucial for many developing countries for some time to come. From a business perspective the developing countries contain a majority of the population in the faster growing markets. There is therefore a shared interest in a constructive approach between Government and business to support sustainable development.

2.33 Such an approach needs to avoid the distortion of development funds in pursuit of short-term commercial objectives, such as the previous Government’s support for the Pergau project or Westland helicopters. Above all it needs to reflect the fact that long-term trade and investment is essential to stimulate the growth which brings benefits to everyone, especially those most in need.



Although many of the transition countries are not poor by measurements of income alone, many of their people suffer varying degrees of deprivation - of access to information, human and civil rights, democratic institutions and a decent environment. And social provision has in many cases not evolved to replace the unsustainable safety nets of the past. Radical shifts have taken place, but much remains to be done to achieve a stable redistribution of rights and responsibilities between the State and its citizens.

We will continue to support the process of transition in the region, seeking to ensure that its benefits are sustainable and spread through all levels of society. We shall work with a wide range of partners in the region and in the UK, and with multilateral institutions. We shall seek to involve governments, the private sector, academic and training bodies and NGOs. We will support:

· the development of the enabling framework necessary for a return to economic growth, including transparent and well-regulated markets, firm action against corruption, reform and restructuring of enterprises, and measures to encourage small and medium enterprise development

· an inclusive approach to economic management, directing social provision where it is most needed, preventing the capturing of the benefits of economic reform by a minority, and developing public and private mechanisms to increase financial security for households;

· empowerment of individuals and groups through establishing secure rights, spreading skills and information to enable people to participate in and help to shape transition, and developing accountable and accessible law enforcement systems

· the integration of environmental considerations into economic planning, mitigation of the effects of environmental degradation and prevention of future degradation, particularly in the interests of the poorest people

· integration of the transition countries into global economic and political frameworks, through accession to the European Union for eligible countries, strengthened relations with the Union for others, accession to the WTO with full adherence to WTO rules, and strengthened business and investment links with the UK and other countries

The Know How Fund will continue to be the channel for British bilateral technical assistance for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, working within the new strategy and taking careful account of the differing needs in our various countries of operation. But bearing in mind that we spend many times more on the region through multilateral institutions, we will also seek to use our influence to ensure that they are working effectively towards an equitable and sustainable transition.



Six of the UK’s 13 remaining Dependent Territories still receive substantial UK development assistance: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean; St Helena and Pitcairn.

Most of our development assistance, which is based on an agreed Country Policy Plan (CPP) following a Strategic Review jointly conducted with the Dependent Territory, is channelled in three forms:

· in the poorer dependencies we continue to provide basic infrastructure - schools, hospitals, roads, water, power, etc

· we finance the costs of expatriate personnel engaged to fill key administrative or technical posts for which no suitably qualified local candidates are presently available, and to train potential successors

· for the two most economically dependent - St Helena and Montserrat - we are also providing budgetary support to meet the financing gap between government recurrent expenditure and locally generated resources

Our development assistance commitments to the latter two territories are considerable. Our present three-year £26 million commitment to St Helena amounts to some £1500 for every islander each year. Our current commitments to Montserrat in emergency and development assistance, in response to the volcano crisis, amount to £46 million, or over £10,000 per head.

2.34 In the international arena, we will therefore strongly support, and seek to strengthen, the disciplines which limit the use of tied aid credits and the efforts to minimise support for unproductive expenditure. Concerted international effort is also needed if there is to be effective progress in untying development assistance. The Government has already fully untied Britain’s contribution to the Special Programme of Assistance to Africa, and we will pursue energetically the scope for multilateral untying of development assistance. We will also seek to develop further the use of local and regional skills and resources in assistance programmes, thus strengthening the local private sector, but will not otherwise unilaterally untie our bilateral aid.

2.35 With British business, we will move away from a narrow relationship based on individual contracts to a broader sharing of approaches to the eradication of poverty, drawing on the extensive skills of the British private sector - consultants and contractors, investors, exporters and importers, business organisations, large companies and small firms. The Aid and Trade Provision (ATP) lacks poverty elimination as its central focus; no more applications will be accepted for ATP assistance, and the scheme will be closed. This does not preclude deploying development assistance in association with private finance, including in the form of mixed credits. But in order to avoid the abuses of the past, any mixed credits will be managed within agreed country programmes and subject to:

· the agreed strategy and sectoral focus for each country, which would have the primary aim of helping to reduce poverty not of subsidising exports

· the same procedures for quality control as all other projects



Disasters, both natural and man-made, and often recurrent, are a significant burden on poor societies. The root causes of poverty tend to leave poor people not only more exposed to hazards, but also less able to cope in the event of a disaster.

Our objectives in assisting countries to deal with disaster are not only to save lives through emergency relief, but also to protect and rebuild livelihoods and communities, and reduce vulnerability to future disasters.

In responding to disasters, we aim to provide swift, appropriate and cost-effective financial, material and technical assistance, based on analysis of actual need. We shall endeavour to do this in ways that encourages the participation of all stakeholders in decisions that affect their lives, builds local capacity and lays a solid foundation for rehabilitation and recovery. The UK’s capacity to respond to disasters overseas will be strengthened through tapping the vast reservoir of available skills and building partnerships within the public and private sectors to ensure that all players are used to their best comparative advantage. In all disaster work, our responsibility must be first and foremost to those affected.

Disaster preparedness and prevention will be an integral part of our development co-operation programme. We shall work with disaster-prone partner countries to develop systems for the better management of man-made hazards and, where feasible, natural hazards, so as to reduce their human impact.

The multitude of actors involved in humanitarian work underlines the importance of international co-operation based on sound principles. Hence we shall encourage system-wide agreement on common performance standards and a code of ethical conduct for organisations involved in humanitarian work, and will seek to implement guidelines already agreed within the OECD. We shall work for, and co-operate with, a more effective and efficient multilateral humanitarian system, building on the capabilities of UN institutions, the Red Cross Movement, other international organisations and NGOs. Within the EU, we shall also work closely with other member states and the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) to ensure more consistent joint policies and approaches

2.36 Trade and investment are key to sustainable development. We will work with British business to strengthen support for investment and trade which contribute towards this objective. We will respond promptly to new ideas from all our development partners, both in British industry and in developing countries. We propose to build a new partnership between the relevant Government departments and British business. In particular, following discussions with British business we will:

· make systematically available information about trade and investment opportunities in developing countries. The information will include both bilateral and multilateral aid-financed opportunities

· work to ensure that multilateral development projects make full use of the skills of UK business

· consult the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) when preparing country and other development strategies. These strategies will take full account of the contribution that can be made by all our development partners, including the UK private sector, and all forms of assistance provided by the UK Government

· work to reduce initial costs and perceived risks for investments which support the aim of poverty elimination. The Know How Fund will continue to encourage business to enter into joint ventures and invest in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and similar schemes will be developed as appropriate for other countries

· continue to use the development programme to promote an enabling environment for private sector development which contributes to pro-poor economic growth

· develop with British business specific proposals in a number of partner countries for working together to help develop local business infrastructure

Together these represent an important new initiative. The Government is determined to ensure that it does all it can to make it succeed and to use in each case the most appropriate means to promote sustainable development.

2.37 Our main instrument for investing in the private sector in the poorest countries is the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC). Its particular strengths lie in its ability to help create and manage new business and to act as a catalyst for other investors. From its own resources it currently finances around £300 million of new activities a year in the poorer countries, of which over 30 per cent is for projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The Government believes the CDC to be an under-utilised asset. We will therefore seek to enlarge the resources at CDC’s disposal by introducing private sector capital and creating a dynamic Government/private sector partnership with the Government retaining a substantial minority holding; a partnership that will provide leadership as an ethical and socially responsible investor in poorer countries. As the Prime Minister has announced, the proceeds generated will be ploughed back into the development programme.

2.38 There is a growing understanding that ethical business is good business in every sense. The Government welcomes the development of ethical investment movements. These are growing instruments for change in development, as individuals and organisations look increasingly at how their savings, investments and purchasing decisions impact on the lives and rights of producers, suppliers and workers in the developing countries.

2.39 We propose to establish a new awards scheme to recognise private sector companies who have developed partnerships which make a particular contribution to sustainable development. This would enable us to recognise the many innovative actions taken by the private sector in contributing to development in ways which promote the ability of poor people to establish sustainable livelihoods and move out of poverty.

The Voluntary Sector

2.40 The Government wishes to strengthen its partnership with voluntary charitable and non-profit making organisations. We plan to work in alliance with them to win stronger public and international support for poverty elimination and sustainable development. We also plan to work in complementary ways in partnership countries and to support their efforts in non-partnership countries.

2.41 The Government intends to continue to support British voluntary agencies through the Joint Funding Scheme and the Volunteer Programme. We have agreed to discuss with them how to reorient these arrangements in the light of our new policies, in particular with the objective of strengthening capacity within developing country non-governmental organisations. In pursuit of these partnerships the Government intends to work closely with organisations within the UK which can reinforce these efforts, including the British Council which is a key partner in developing and implementing programmes in many countries.

The Research Community

2.42 We have reviewed our support for technology development and research to assess how they contribute to the objective of eliminating poverty, and whether they are resourced and managed in the most effective way. Knowledge, research and technology underpin all our work. The elimination of poverty and protection of the environment requires improved access to knowledge and technologies by poor people. This will be achieved through continued investment in research and research capacity in developing countries and through partnerships with the science community in the UK and internationally. The outcomes of this research will be disseminated widely so that the maximum benefit can be derived from it. Panel 18 sets out the potential benefits of this new approach; Panel 19 gives some examples of what has already been achieved.



· We will continue to generate knowledge and understanding of how best to tackle the problems of development. To effect change, knowledge is essential both for the UK itself and for our partners in development. At a time of great change in the globalising world, knowledge and ideas are particularly important to secure progress.

· The Government’s aims for international development are ambitious and its work is urgent but resources are limited. These resources must be used in ways that produce the greatest benefits. We need to know what will work and what will not work. We remain aware that we do not have all the answers.

· Much knowledge is already available but often it needs to be adapted to the particular circumstances of developing countries. In other instances, existing knowledge is insufficient and investment in new knowledge, research and technology development is needed. Results need to be communicated effectively and the conditions created in which they can be implemented.

· One of the main constraints to effective development assistance is an imperfect understanding of social, economic, political and physical environments. We will find local solutions to local problems and involve local people and institutions in the process. The UK has earned international respect for the quality of its international development programmes. Getting it right means not only investing in effective relationships but in pushing back the boundaries of shared knowledge, understanding the problems which constrain sustainable development and working with national and international partners to develop appropriate, often innovative, solutions which will help to eliminate poverty.

· Research is an important weapon in the fight against poverty. Without research, many development interventions would fail or be much less successful; and research has significant multiplier effects - solutions to the causes of poverty in one part of the developing world may well be replicable in another. The principle of shared knowledge is an important component of the partnerships which are essential to development. The Government sees continued investment in knowledge generation as a key element in achieving its aims and objectives for international development.



· Research on the effectiveness of development assistance and conditionality has been influential in changing the perception of donors and lending agencies about how best to promote development. This has contributed to the reorientation of our development policy set out in this White Paper, in particular thinking on partnerships and how other policies can affect development.

· Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have significant potential as advocates of poor people’s needs. DFID-funded research has identified findings which are now being used by NGOs to enhance their capacity to contribute to sustained poverty elimination.

· Recent British research on the conditions necessary for microcredit to be effective has been seminal and is often quoted and used by multilateral and other bilateral agencies in designing their own programmes for lending to small businesses and farmers.

· Research into reading levels in Zambia and Malawi influenced the national Malawi Community Schools programme, and led the Zambian Ministry of Education to reconsider its policy on introducing reading in English in Grade 1. Research showed that children learn the skills of literacy most effectively in their first language.

· In Tanzania, a randomised trial showed that treatment of STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) through the local clinics was associated with a 42 per cent reduction in new cases of HIV.

· Eclampsia - a disease characterised by convulsions - causes 50,000 maternal deaths a year. A randomised trial involving nine developing countries showed that magnesium sulphate (a low-cost drug) is at least twice as effective as other anti-convulsants in reducing the occurrence of further convulsions.

· Successful testing of a simple-to-operate multi-stage water filtration unit, first using a pilot plant in the UK followed by field testing in a Rwanda refugee camp, has led to the system being expanded by Oxfam to a full size plant to provide safe drinking water for 16,000 refugees.

· Gliricidia sepium is a tree which is widely planted in tropical countries by subsistence farmers. It provides fodder for livestock, poles for construction and wood for fuel. Its nitrogen-fixing qualities are valuable for soil improvement. A seed source identified by British scientists offers growth improvements of over 50 per cent.

· Research on the ecology of rice pests has helped to develop integrated management strategies which have empowered farmers to make better informed and environmentally sound pest management decisions resulting in lower levels of inputs (particularly pesticides), higher yields and increased income generation.

· A devastating and rapidly spreading fish disease has affected freshwater fisheries and aquaculture in Asian waters leading to widespread losses and threat to livelihoods. Collaborative research between British and regional scientists has identified the fungal agent, a new species, and ways of controlling the impact.

· Wood burning stoves costing as little as £2 have been developed which reduce by a half the amount of fuel wood needed for cooking. This reduces deforestation and air pollution. Where women make their living by cooking and have to buy fuel wood, the cost of the stove can be recovered in a few days. Many stoves are bought by the poorest.