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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


We shall

· Work closely with other donors and development agencies to build partnerships with developing countries to strengthen the commitment to the elimination of poverty, and use our influence to help mobilise the political will to achieve the international development targets.

· Pursue these targets in partnership with poorer countries who are also committed to them.

· Put in place new ways of working with the UK private and voluntary sectors, and the research community, towards the international development targets, including transforming the Commonwealth Development Corporation into a dynamic public/private partnership.

· Measure the effectiveness of our efforts, alongside others, against the targets, including the aim of halving the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty by 2015.

The Complexities of Development

2.1 Development is complex, and the challenge faced by the governments of the world’s poorest countries is formidable. For poverty elimination to be achieved, and for development to be sustainable - that is, secured without sacrificing future resources - there must be a dynamic balance between policies and actions which promote sustainable livelihoods, human development and the better management of the natural and physical environment. That means establishing a pattern of economic growth that benefits all sections of society; targeting scarce resources so that poor people have the education, health care and opportunities they need and ensuring that women and men enjoy equal benefits. It also requires proper stewardship of natural resources so that the needs of both present and future generations can be met.

2.2 This challenge is daunting for any society, but particularly for those with limited resources. Some countries will make more rapid progress towards the international development targets than others. Those most likely to succeed will have effective government, enlightened legislation, prudent budgeting and an efficient administration that responds to the needs of poor people. Governments of most poor countries seek help to carry through their development programmes. Effective support for their efforts will require action both through development programmes - the subject of this Section - and through wider policies - the subject of Section 3.

2.3 A wide range of interventions through development assistance programmes will often be needed to support economic growth which makes significant progress towards the elimination of poverty. These interventions include support for the provision of the basic necessities of life, water and food, investment in education, health and family planning services; investment in necessary infrastructure measures to create employment opportunities through the encouragement of small-scale enterprise; support for good governance and the rule of law and firm action against corruption; and action to promote greater equality for women and to end the exploitation of children. Panels 5-13 illustrate some of the fundamental issues in these areas and practical ways in which we can support national development plans and programmes. We will encourage participatory approaches which take into account the views and needs of the poor, and which tackle disparities between women and men throughout society.

2.4 The Prime Minister made a specific commitment at the Denver Summit in mid-1997 to raise by SO per cent our bilateral support for basic health care, basic education and clean water in Africa. In fulfilling this pledge, we shall look throughout at the wider picture so as to reflect the dynamic balance described above. For example, death rates among children and pregnant women - both of which remain high in poorer countries - are unlikely to fall just as a result of the construction of a range of health centres. For women to enjoy better maternal health, they need access to good quality obstetric units, to be able to travel to them quickly, and to be in a position to choose to use them without the approval or authority of others to do so. If they cannot, poor women will continue to be at least a hundred times more likely to die in childbirth than women in the UK or US.

2.5 Equally, the building of schools is not enough: the education provided must ensure that those attending school acquire appropriate knowledge and skills to improve their lives and contribute to the well-being of their communities. The quality of education is a crucial factor in encouraging parents to enrol their children (particularly girls) and in ensuring they attend school throughout the year (see Figure 8). Meeting the agreed international targets will therefore require action to address teaching quality and learning attainment, as well as primary enrolment figures, in order to retain children in school throughout the primary level and beyond. It also requires policies and means to address gender inequalities in primary and secondary education.



The Challenge

Poverty elimination and the well-being and livelihoods of poor people, whether they live in towns or rural areas, are critically dependent on their access at all times to sufficient, safe food and water.

Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource essential to sustain life, development and the environment. Over 1.3 billion people do not have access to safe water. Eight hundred million people are hungry or malnourished.

Our Response


We are supporting international efforts through the United Nations, other agencies and bilaterally to implement Key Principles for Sustainable Integrated Water Management as set out in Agenda 21 and reiterated at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in June 1997.

We will:

· treat water as both a social and economic good

· increase our support for programmes that bring clean, safe water to poor people

· encourage all those who have an interest in its allocation and use - particularly women -to be involved in decision making and management of water resources

· adopt a comprehensive framework that takes account of impacts of water use on all aspects of social and economic development


The World Food Summit in 1996 set the target of reducing the number of undernourished people in the world by half by 2015. The primary responsibility for achieving food security rests with individual governments but the international community must play an important role. We will continue to advocate coordinated action within the European Community and the United Nations system. We will carry out a review of food aid.

We will promote policies and programmes that:

· increase access by poor people to a fair share of productive assets such as land

· improve the services and access to knowledge that people need to make the best use of those assets

· promote management of the natural environment in ways that will produce more safe and nutritious food, generate employment and income, and improve living standards without degrading the environment

· recognise women’s role in food production and their need for equal access to productive resources including land



The Challenge

Education is an essential foundation for the process of enabling individuals and countries to realise their potential and make the most of their resources.

But an estimated 150 million primary age children do not go to school, many get an inadequate education, and over 900 million adults, two-thirds of whom are women, are illiterate. The overall proportion of illiterate adults has been falling but the uneducated children of today will be the illiterate adults of tomorrow. Our priority is to assist partner countries to achieve the full participation of all children and adults in quality education at all levels.

Our Response

The Government embraces the vision of the Jomtien World Conference on Education for All in 1990 - universal access and equity, a focus on learning, broadening basic education to include literacy for adults and strengthening partnerships. The international development targets to which we are committed include Universal Primary Education by 2015 and eliminating gender inequalities in primary and secondary education by 2005.

We will adopt a new approach, working together with governments and international donors to develop education sector policy and financial frameworks. The focus of our support will be on the fundamental elements of an effective education system: access, quality, retention and equity:

· Access - for girls as well as boys, rich or poor, rural or urban, and those in socially or ethnically disadvantaged communities

· Quality - to prepare children for the life ahead

· Retention - to enable pupils to benefit from the full cycle of education

· Equity - to remove all barriers to opportunity and achievement

We also intend to strengthen and extend partnerships to support a range of innovative strategies. These will include:

· development of policies and practices to improve schools, educational opportunities and achievement within education systems

· involvement of local communities in developing and managing schools to increase local participation and accountability

· creation of new opportunities for the poor to participate in education at all levels

· reconstruction of education systems in poor countries emerging from acute social upheaval

· promotion of scholarship and research to improve our knowledge and understanding of how education can contribute to the elimination of poverty

We shall elaborate these principles in an education policy document.



The Challenge

The poorest billion people in the world are ten times more likely to die young (under 15 years of age) than the richest billion; they are nine times more likely to die of communicable diseases (diarrhoea, malaria, pneumonia and TB) and twice as likely to die from accidents and injury. Women, who are more at risk in all cases, are also at least ten times more likely to die of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. This massive burden of ill-health affects poor people’s chances of escaping from poverty and taking advantages of opportunities to do better.

Tackling high death and disability rates among poor people poses real challenges. For example, millions of people throughout the world cannot access sufficient water for personal use. As many as half the world’s population lack access to effective means for disposing of excreta. Water, sanitation, shelter, food and education, as well as essential health care, are all vital requirements if efforts to improve poor people’s health are to succeed.

Recent studies have indicated that a spend of just £9 per person per year on essential health care is sufficient to make a real difference to the suffering of poor people. This would allow a basic package of immunisation and nutritional supplements and public education of family planning, prevention of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases and substance abuse, to be provided. Currently, many developing countries spend less than £3 per person per year for all health needs, and these funds are not distributed in a way that ensures equitable service provision.

Our Response

The UK has signed up to a series of relevant international targets to be achieved by 2015 -specifically halving proportions of people in poverty, halving child mortality rates, reducing maternal mortality by three quarters and ensuring accessible reproductive health services. These call for coherent action to improve the livelihoods and well-being of poor people in poor countries.

We are committed to:

· helping ensure that all the world’s people - particularly those in the poorest countries of Africa and Asia - can access and benefit from essential health services

· establishing long-term partnerships for better health with countries, international organisations and UK-based groups

· supporting local (as well as global) initiatives on specific issues - for example, to help young people improve their sexual health and reduce HIV, enable all to lessen dangers for women associated with pregnancy, to reduce poor people’s suffering due to communicable disease - especially malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and the like, to access clean water and sanitation, and promote health environments

· working with governments to develop sector-wide approaches to better health

· increasing our support within the United Nations system to promote international standards for human health and health care

· the better application of scientific knowledge and techniques to the health and well-being of poor people



The Challenge

The second half of the twentieth century has seen unprecedented changes in the size, structure and setting of the world’s population. In 1945, the population of the world, at 2.3 billion, was about the size of just China and India today. Since then, it has more than doubled to 5.8 billion. It could easily reach 9 billion by 2045, representing a quadrupling within 100 years. Ninety-five per cent of the current growth is in developing countries, least well-equipped to cope with the consequences. This presents immense challenges for all concerned with reducing poverty.

Alternative Futures: Population Projections to 2150

Source: UNFPA

It is clear that more and more people want to plan their families, have fewer children and give them a better start in life. At least 150 million couples worldwide are not able to access the contraceptives they want when they want them. When they are available, couples are often unaware how to use the contraceptives safely. The services for millions more are inadequate. If countries could respond to their people’s demands for smaller families, the world’s population could stabilise at 10 billion - or less.

The world is also both younger and older than ever before. Today, half the population in developing countries is under 23 years old. By 2000, an estimated 800 million people - 15 per cent of the world’s population - will be teenagers, the largest generation ever. Life expectancy in 1945 was 45 years; it is now 65, the highest ever, and by 2045, it is estimated it will be 76. By 2020, two thirds of the world’s elderly people will be in developing countries. A further dimension has been the increasing urbanisation of the world’s population. Eighty-four per cent of urban growth since 1970 has been in the developing countries, a proportion which continues to increase.

Our Response

Britain supports countries implementing the Programme of Action agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. Through multilateral and bilateral action Britain will do what it can to enable more people, particularly the poor, to have choices about the number and timing of their children. We will help women to go through pregnancy and childbirth more safely, and help women and men, whether adolescent or older, avoid sexually transmitted infections and sexual violence.

This means improving the quality and accessibility of reproductive health information, services and commodities. Our goal is to contribute to meeting by 2015 internationally agreed targets of reproductive health for all and a three-quarters reduction in maternal mortality.



The Challenge

Many women and children in developing countries spend hours every day fetching water or collecting fire wood for cooking. In rural areas, development is often limited by the lack of even basic access to enable children to attend school; for people to visit health centres; for farmers to be able to market their produce; or for the unemployed to seek work. Schools and health centres are often totally inadequate for needs.

In urban areas, many poor people live in temporary shelter on marginal land on unserviced plots. Safe water supplies are often not readily available and poor (or non-existent) sanitation and waste-disposal systems give rise to health problems. Inadequate power supplies restrict the development of small enterprises to offer employment nearer home and can force people to use alternative, more expensive forms of energy (e.g. paraffin for lighting).

Our Response

In order to improve the availability of, and access to, essential basic infrastructure for poorer people in our partner countries we will:

· Increase our support to integrated Water Supply and Sanitation Projects which involve communities in the planning and managing of new facilities and includes hygiene education to maximise health benefits

· Promote the use of alternatives (such as photovoltive and mini hydro) systems to provide a cost effective means to supply electricity to a range of remote users including schools, hospitals, homes and water pumping for agriculture

· Seek ways to help reduce the burden placed on women and children to collect essential fuel for cooking

· Work with partners to develop rural feeder roads projects which train small local contractors and provides both employment for villagers and access to markets and other social services

· Seek appropriate ways to increase community participation in road maintenance and develop guidelines to improve the effectiveness of the involvement of communities in the maintenance and improvement of their local roads and tracks in order to protect community assets

· Build on current work aimed at forming partnerships with local artisans to help develop low-cost energy efficient designs for schools, health centres and houses that can be constructed from locally available materials

· Work with local community groups to assist low-income households to improve their own housing in a cost effective way, based on a self-help approach

· Work with urban slum dwellers to help meet basic infrastructure needs in partnership with city authorities

· Promote and encourage private sector investment in basic infrastructure and services in our partner countries to help meet the needs of the poor



The Challenge

Economic growth is the prime means of creating income and employment opportunities. Where markets for products are expanding, poor people are able to establish sustainable livelihoods for themselves either by increasing their existing production and finding new products to market, or by finding employment opportunities with new or growing enterprises. Without growth - with stagnant or even declining incomes - the poor will only be able to make insignificant improvements in their livelihoods at the expense of other poor people.

While economic growth is critical for sustainable development, it must be accompanied by policies and programmes to facilitate income and employment generation for poor people. Relying on the fruits of strong growth at a national level automatically trickling down to the more marginalised poor is not a solution. Systematic policies and programmes that not only distribute the fruits of economic development but more importantly integrate the poor themselves in the revitalisation of production are essential.

Individuals, households, enterprises and communities need the capacity to take advantage of opportunities to initiate and participate in new economic activity, to be provided with the appropriate incentives to stimulate their efforts to pursue and sustain income-generating activities, and to be encouraged through targeted instruments that promote economic activity.

Our Response

We will support policies and projects for which poor people are the immediate and direct beneficiaries, such as through:

· the promotion of finance for private business - through providing lines of credit and expertise to institutions, including co-operatives, that offer loans to poor farmers, poor people in towns and to small businesses

· investing in ways of freeing women’s time for income earning activities, such as improvements in rural infrastructure

· providing training in technical, business and financial skills

We will support policies and projects that have a broader set of beneficiaries and which impact upon the poor in a less direct sense, but which are nonetheless critical to the environment in which they seek to establish their livelihoods, such as:

· the fundamental programmes that establish macro-economic stability

· the elimination of unproductive expenditures to free up scarce resources for poverty focused objectives

· the development of economic infrastructure that meets the water, transportation, communications and energy needs of those pursuing a wide range of activities - both formal and informal, large-scale and small-scale

· the mobilisation of private sector financing

· assisting with asset re-distribution, for example legislative reform which gives women farmers equal access to land



The Challenge

The World Bank’s 1997 World Development Report states unequivocally that “good government is not a luxury - it is a vital necessity for development”. Raising standards of governance is central to the elimination of poverty. Making government more responsive to the needs and wishes of poor people can improve the quality of their lives. Accessible systems of justice help address family and personal insecurity. Poor people, and especially poor women, are likely to be the last to enjoy these rights unless they receive support.

Improving governance can thus improve the lives of poor people directly. It is also essential for creating the environment for faster economic growth. Both aspects can be compromised by corruption, which all governments must address. In developing countries it is the poor who bear proportionately the heaviest cost. The consequences include:

· the immediate impact on poor people of higher prices and fewer employment opportunities due to the distortions that corruption can cause, while corrupt officials may demand payment for public services which are supposed to be free

· the diversion of scarce budgetary resources away from poverty elimination into unproductive expenditure or into the repayment of debts accumulated because of corrupt activities, as well as the loss of tax and customs revenues

· the indirect economic impact that constrains economic growth by increasing the uncertainty and unpredictability of costs to prospective investors

· the indirect political impact that reduces poor people’s representation as elites cling to power in order to exploit opportunities for corruption

Our Response

We will support measures to build sound and accountable government which is the foundation of economic growth and poverty elimination allowing poor and disadvantaged people to achieve their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. This will include:

· support for decentralisation, new approaches to criminal justice, better service delivery, women’s political participation, and involving civil society

· support to make the machinery of government work smoothly and the Civil Service more efficient

· support to raise and allocate revenue equitably, to strengthen legal systems so that they can enforce laws of property and rights swiftly and justly

· encouraging democratic structures which can hold government accountable and give the poor a voice

As part of our commitment to combat corruption, we support OECD initiatives to criminalise the bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions and to cease the tax deductibility of such bribes. We support the IMF and World Bank in their efforts to promote economic policies and institutional change to tackle corruption, within the scope of their mandates. In partner countries we will support direct instruments - such as anti-corruption commissions - and changes which reduce the motivation and opportunity for corruption - such as raising pay to a living wage and reducing administrative regulation where it is safe to do so.



The Challenge

The Government’s policy on equality between women and men reflects UK commitments made at recent international meetings - at Vienna, at Cairo and importantly at Beijing. It builds on the OECD DAC Statement on Gender Equality and the EU’s Gender Resolution and represents our contribution to taking forward the Beijing Platform for Action. The policy is an integral and essential part of our approach to development.

The goal of achieving equality between women and men is based on principles of human rights and social justice. Empowerment of women is moreover a prerequisite for achieving effective and people-centred development. We aim to tackle disparities between women and men throughout society.

The majority - perhaps 70 per cent - of the world’s poorest people are women. Their poverty is associated with unequal access to productive resources and control of assets, together with poor health, lack of education, personal insecurity and limited participation in public life. The abolition of poverty cannot be achieved until men and women have equal access to the resources and services necessary to achieve their individual potential and fulfill their obligations to household, community and, more broadly, society.

Poor women are frequently doubly disadvantaged (because of their poverty and because of their gender) in access to services, in access to and control over economic resources and in participation in public life. This perpetuates gender inequality. Moreover, poor women are more likely than poor men to suffer from the non-material aspects of poverty: isolation, lack of information, inability to have their voices heard and vulnerability to personal and social forms of violence.

Effective poverty reduction requires policies which recognise women’s multiple roles and we encourage and support macro-economic policies and development strategies that respond to the needs and efforts of women in poverty. We recognise the importance of women’s informal and unpaid social as well as economic work, when improving their livelihoods.

Gender analysis can help effective poverty reduction strategies by contributing to the design of economic reform and sector investment programmes and the growth of a socially responsible private sector. It can help with the reform of trade and investment policies and the design of appropriate participatory monitoring and support mechanisms.

Our Response

We implement our policy using a twin-track approach:

· assessing and addressing inequalities between women and men, boys and girls, in relation to all strategic areas of concern and as an integral part of all our development activities;

· supporting specific and focused initiatives to enhance women’s empowerment both in our own programmes and in our support to relevant national and multilateral organisations



The Challenge

Very many millions of the world’s children are suffering from violent civil or domestic conflict, or are exploited and abused in plantations and sweat shops. According to the ILO there are 250 million child workers. An estimated quarter of a million children under 18 - some as young as seven - are presently serving as soldiers, while the number of children displaced from their homes as a result of violent civil conflict is about 30 million. Some estimates suggest that about 1 million children every year fall victim to some form of sexual exploitation and some 8 million children are living on the streets. In those parts of Africa with high HIV/AIDS prevalence many children are orphans; these children are more likely to have their rights denied or violated and their property taken away from them.

Even where children are not suffering from these extreme forms of abuse, the specific needs of children within households and communities are often not understood or explicitly acknowledged; their needs and interests are often overlooked and subsumed by the needs of other household members, who have more power to express themselves. In many societies girl children tend to do the hardest work, have less to eat and are denied the opportunity of an education.

Our Response

We shall support international efforts to enhance children’s well-being through implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, promoting children’s protection and participation, alongside the provision of effective and sustainable services.

Children have a right to basic standards in health care, education, food, shelter and welfare; governments have a duty to support, and if necessary assist, parents in meeting these rights. Provision of services will therefore continue to be an essential part of our contribution to promoting children’s rights. At the same time, we shall place a stronger emphasis on combining provision with children’s protection and participation. For example, we shall support the development of education systems where children are educated about their rights - and are shielded from violation of these rights.

We shall encourage and support stand-alone programmes which can enable development partner countries to protect children from a violation of their rights. We will also promote strategies and programmes which enhance children’s and young people’s participation in the decisions that affect their lives.

2.6 Similarly, the provision of the physical means to bring clean water to rural villages is not enough by itself to ensure access to clean water for all. The question of who controls the pumps and pipes, and how access is determined, need also to be addressed. This can raise difficult social and cultural issues. The urban poor in developing countries can spend up to 40 per cent of their income on water, and pay water vendors up to 10 times the cost of water from a piped supply in the same city.

2.7 The international community as a whole has a major role to play in supporting developing countries in their efforts to eliminate poverty. Last year, the development assistance provided by bilateral and multilateral donors totalled some $55 billion. These resources, and the transfer of know-how and expertise that goes with them, can have far greater impact on levels of world poverty than has been evident to date. They will only be effective if there is also a consensus on priorities linked to the international development targets, and if the whole international community works together to meet them. We in the UK must rise to the challenge.

Multilateral Development Assistance

2.8 Of the net development assistance provided by the international community, some 30 per cent is made available through the multilateral development institutions (the World Bank Group, the regional development banks and the UN), the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth. Half (about £1.1 billion) of our programme is spent multilaterally (see Figures 9 & 10). This allows us to have influence over a much larger area. We cannot have bilateral programmes everywhere. We can, however, use our influence in the multilateral system to increase international commitment to poverty eradication, and work in such a way that our multilateral and bilateral efforts complement each other.

FIGURE 8 - Proportion in Primary School in 1995

Proportion in primary school is the number of enrolled pupils/students aged 6-11 as a proportion of the total population in that age group.

Source: World Education Report 1995 (UNESCO).

2.9 The multilateral development institutions make a unique contribution to development, not least through the scale of their resources and the influence they can exercise over the policies of partner governments. They can set standards, pioneer new techniques and address sensitive issues which would be extremely difficult for bilateral donors to pursue. Their political neutrality and technical expertise enable them to take a leadership and coordination role on major problems and global issues such as debt reduction, human rights and refugees, gender equality, the environment and the AIDS pandemic.

2.10 The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have played a central role in the international development agenda over recent decades. Both institutions will be at the centre of the efforts to pursue the international development targets. We will support a closely integrated approach in which the IMF contributes to the establishment of sound macro-economic and financial policies to encourage pro-poor growth, while the Bank complements these efforts by promoting policy, institutional reforms and projects that focus on the elimination of poverty.

2.11 We will continue our efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the multilateral development institutions and the European Union’s development programmes. We want to see them adapt to the new priorities, decentralise aid management and enhance the quality of their programmes. We also want to see greater efforts made to ensure a coherent approach across agencies.

2.12 Our first priority is to encourage all the multilateral development institutions to strengthen their commitment to poverty elimination. The World Bank and UN development agencies have made the clearest commitment to the international development targets, which are based on agreements reached at a series of UN Summits. We welcome this commitment. But the targets must be entrenched in day-to-day decision-making. We will use our influence with the EC and the regional development banks to strengthen the poverty focus of their operations and encourage them to set quantifiable targets for poverty reduction, and measure progress towards these.

FIGURE 9 - Gross Public Expenditure on Aid to all Recipient Countries 1970-1995 £ million Current Prices

1. Comprises aid to developing countries, assistance to CEE/CA countries from 1989, all global environmental assistance from 1991 and administrative costs.

2. From 1987 onwards all years comprise spending from 01 April (stated year) to 31 March following year.

Source: British Aid Statistics.

FIGURE 10 - Gross Public Expenditure on Aid to all Recipient Countries 1970-1995 Constant 1995 Prices

1. Comprises aid to developing countries, assistance to CEE/CA countries from 1989, all global environmental assistance from 1991 and administrative costs.

2. From 1987 onwards all years comprise spending from 01 April (stated year) to 31 March following year.

Source: British Aid Statistics.

2.13 We will encourage the multilateral development institutions to devote more attention to evaluating and monitoring the output of their activities, and to harmonise their impact assessment systems. We will also encourage them to integrate gender considerations and environmental and social sustainability into their projects, including - in the case of the World Bank and the regional development banks - enhanced support for activities which help the poorest, such as education, health and clean water.

2.14 In the development banks, we will also encourage better-off countries to graduate from low-interest loans to loans on near commercial terms. Eventually, they should graduate entirely from such borrowing so that development lending is concentrated where it is needed. This points to a shift in the use of the more concessional funds away from eastern Asia and Latin America towards the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

2.15 Over 30 per cent of our development programme is spent through the European Union. We will use our influence in Europe, in particular during our Presidency in the first half of 1998, to help shape the way in which these funds are spent. Our aims will be to direct a larger share of resources to the poorest countries, to secure commitments from the Commission and other member states to measurable targets, especially on poverty elimination, and to help increase the effectiveness of these funds. We will play an active and constructive role in the Development Council, in other fora, and in bilateral contacts with the Commission. We will seek in particular to maintain and enhance the position of the poorest countries during the forthcoming renegotiation of the Lomonvention which expires in 2000, and which covers 70 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

2.16 We will enhance our support for the role of the United Nations in development and especially for the UN Secretary-General’s recently launched reform package, which we hope will provide the leaner and more effective organisation necessary to deliver the poverty elimination targets set out in the 1997 UN Human Development Report. The Government’s decisions to rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and to reverse the previous Government’s intention to leave the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) demonstrate our strong commitment to the United Nations and our desire to work from within in order to strengthen the system. In the UN, as in all multilateral institutions, we will seek to build new alliances for change and work more closely with our developing country partners to increase the effectiveness of these agencies in meeting the needs of poor countries.

2.17 The Commonwealth will have a full part to play in poverty elimination. Many of those countries in which we are most active and where we will be seeking a new partnership for development are members of the Commonwealth. It has an essential part to play in promoting understanding across a wide and diverse range of countries particularly through its support for education, including the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Scheme. Its strength lies in its informality and in its ability to mobilise the political will for poverty elimination.

2.18 At the 1997 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Edinburgh, the Government asked for increased Commonwealth support for the poverty elimination targets. The Commonwealth’s close historical relationships make it particularly well placed to mobilise political support for poverty elimination across a large percentage of the world’s population. We announced support for a number of new Commonwealth initiatives which contribute towards the development targets including a report on the role of sport in development, particularly for youth-at-risk.

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.

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.