12 May 2010

Old and New Challenges for the New Team at DFID

Yesterday Andrew Mitchell was appointed the new Secretary of State at DFID.

Many congratulations to him on this appointment. I have been following the work of his team for the past two and a half years and have watched with interest as their policy positions have evolved over that time.

Also yesterday the full text of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Agreement was published (focusing mainly on areas that needed to be negotiated).

From an international development perspective this is what caught my eye:

* "The target of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid will also remain in place." It's not clear if the commitment to embed this in legislation in this parliament, including the timeline for reaching 0.7, has survived. Also, no mention of ring-fencing the international aid budget.
* On gender and equalities this seems to have been downgraded, at least at home, given the new combination of this portfolio with the Home Office
* On Climate, the word itself only gets mentioned once in a relatively long section on environment. The section deals almost exclusively on what the UK will do to reduce its own emissions, but contains very little on the leadership role it wants to play internationally. I don't know how significant that is.
* There is nothing on trade.
* A Commission will be set up to look into the separation of retail and investment banking (which was a major contributory factor in the global financial crisis).
* There will be a full Strategic Security and Defence Review alongside the Spending Review-- hopefully DFID will participate in this review

The new team will have some very tough battles on their hands in the coming months:

1. How to protect the aid budget in the July budget: against cuts and against the equally important needs of climate mitigation and adaptation (Lib Dem Chris Huhne at Energy and Climate will obviously be a key ally)
2. How to reconcile the learning and the accountability sides of the new emphasis on impact and value for money--they do not often work hand in hand
3. How to make sure that the greater accountability of aid-dependent countries to donors does not detract from the accountability of those countries to their citizens
4. How to work with the Commonwealth and Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defense while keeping the focus of DFID on poverty reduction
5. How to fix the broken feedback loop in development (citizens in aid-receiving countries cannot hold donors to account) --are there practical ways of doing this?
6. Getting the private sector and NGOs to work together productively to find new ways of combating poverty and powerlessness--there is suspicion on both sides, but perhaps not as much as one might think
7. How to communicate the case for aid in a more authentic and grown up way
8. And the biggest challenge for the next 5 years: how to use aid to reconcile three overlapping but separate goals: global poverty reduction, the sustainable management of the planet, and the UK national interests?

Clearly Secretary of State Mitchell and his team have a lot on their plate. We look forward to working with them on these and other challenges in the months to come.

Finally, I would like to thank Douglas Alexander and his team for the leadership they have shown on international development these past few years. We are proud of what DFID has become in this past decade and we look forward to its sustained excellence as it evolves under the new team.


JAB said...

This seems to set out the challenges facing the new government over international development well. I am pretty certain that - thanks to its impact on development - the climate change defecit will be fixed.

But what concerns me more is the shift of emphasis regarding security - away from the security and development linkages that enable poverty reduction and towards a very hard (possibly even narrow) understanding of UK national security interest. DFID probably doesn't have the people, the undestanding or the networks (across Whitehall and elsewhere) to defend the case for security and development from those keen to raid the budget for UK national security interests. There seems to me to be a real danger that development resources could be diverted from poverty reduction (which contributes positively to UK national security in the long run) to more proximate security interventions in Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc.

I had hoped that a mitigating factor might be the inclusion of a Lib Dem in the loop - but Mitchell (DFID), Hague (FCO) and Neville Jones (Security) seem pretty much on doctrinal message for the Tories. I hope that (local) real politik doesn't do long term harm to development which is where the UK's long term security interests are well served.

DFID urgently needs to get up to speed on security and development. It needs to devote staff resources to shaping the Whitehall debate (as opposed to either following or rejecting it). And it urgently needs to develop a credible story line about how secuirty enables development and development enables security.

Jeneral28 said...

Very succint post. I hope a lib dem gets to be his number 2 or 3 in the team because despite plausible and constructie views, One World Conservatism may it fact return the UK's aid policy to pre-1997.

As JAB covered, DFID doesn't have the capacity to cover security. It was never planned to be a security department, certainly not under Clare Short though from Hilary Benn to Doug Alexander onwards it may have been. Security is inevitably intertwined with development. Yet to put DFID in the NSC and a security level risk turning it into a USAID or MCC clone.

DFID is form poverty focused work. With the first NSC meeting, I suspect a susbstantial part of the planned 0.7 (if they can reach it) will be to Afghanistan/Iran. Failed states are poor states but help should be beyond the strategic purposes of foreign policy.

Second, MyAid idea is ludicruous. Say the British people vote for how aid is spent. Not all Brits are development focused and second not all look beyond states. Such votes would tend to give aid to the "global standard" states--those that follow IMF-WB/neo-liberal/democratic views. This is again failing to tackle poverty especially human centred poverty.

Mamunur Rahman said...

Thanks Mr Lawrence for sharing his thought provoking analysis.
Mamunur Rahman

Anonymous said...

Another battle that might be added to your list is the battle to maintain sufficient capacity within DFID to manage increasing aid flows, if spending does continue to rise towards the 0.7% target. DFID will have to do more with less, and will have to protect its capacity to manage aid effectively or will run into trouble.

Lawrence Haddad said...

thanks for these interesting comments

i agree with the need for dfid to get on the front foot about security otherwise it runs the risk of always being behind the other 2 D's--defence and diplomacy

on MyAid--I would like to see it piloted...it is one of those ideas that seems unpromising at first, but once you look at things like Global Giving it makes me think it is worth a pilot run and a decent evalauation...but I would encourage exerimentation with other ways of engaging the public in international development

Quillan said...

Andrew Mitchel said on Newsnight his Department would be spending money on vaccinating 750,000 children in the third world. He needs educating.
1 No vaccine has ever been proved to work.
2.Even if they did, because the children are malnourished more would be killed by the vaccine, than the disease.
3. The most efficient way of improving the lot of these people is to spend money on giving them clean water.
PlayPumps achieve this in Africa at a cost of £3 per head.Children pump the water from the water table on a merry- go-round,
This enables villages to grow vegetables and improve their life expectancy greatly.Women no longer have to walk 10km a day to collect dirty water from a polluted waterhole taking hours out of each day, and exhausting them. These projects have been set up in more than 1000 African villages. There is no more efficient use of aid:

Dr Kalokerinos interview-------International Vaccine Newsletter June 1995
He was talking about his many years amongst the Aboriginees.
Please go to this Link or find it on Whale Vaccines site. He is adamant. Vaccinating the malnourished kills more people than the disease. Of course he goes on to say that vaccination is a giant hoax, well known by all independent observers. I will prove it in later comments.
Dr Kalokerinos: "You cannot immunise sick children, malnourished children, and expect to get away with it. You’ll kill far more children than would have died from the natural infection. There are other ways to deal with things like measles. If they gave them intramuscular or perhaps intravenous injections of vitamin C and a bit of other nutritional support then you can virtually forget about nine tenths of your problems".

"They were very strange reactions indeed. A third observation was that with some of these reactions which normally resulted in death I found that I could reverse them by giving large amounts of vitamin C intramuscularly or intravenously. One would have expected, of course, that the authorities would take an interest in these observations that resulted in a dramatic drop in the death rate of infants in the area under my control, a very dramatic drop. But instead of taking an interest their reaction was one of extreme hostility."

[See also how Dr Klenner cured all 60 of his Polio cases in 72 hours using large doses of Vitamin C intravenously, and was also totally ignored.]

Wake up Andrew Mitchell. Dr Kalokerinos as been in the field treating these people for more than 40 years. Talk to him. Your "experience" is non-existent.Just a year behind a desk, and there you go, promoting Pharma vaccines which kill and don't work anyway.
I'll bet you haven't checked whether the Vaccines would be injected using disposable needles? Here's what Dr.Kalokerinos found in the 1970s.
"I was in London and I heard they were going to vaccinate all the children of Africa against measles and the entire black population against smallpox. I knew the way they would carry out these campaigns and I knew that they would not use clean needles. I went to the BBC in London and tried to get on a programme with my views but of course they would not do it. And what I forecast happened. They did use dirty needles, they spread viral infections from one person to another and they continued to spread these viral infections in the vaccination needles for years. And of course that is how AIDS spread so rapidly in Africa. AIDS did not spread so rapidly in the black population of Africa simply because truck drivers were having sex with prostitutes and then giving it to their wives. Certainly that happened, but it did not explain the explosive outbreak of AIDS. AIDS was carried by dirty needles."

Here we go again. Is this ignorance or deliberate?

Quillan said...

Vaccinations and proof they have never worked.

- In 1871-2, England, with 98% of the population aged between 2 and 50 vaccinated against smallpox, it experienced its worst ever smallpox outbreak with 45,000 deaths. During the same period in Germany, with a vaccination rate of 96%, there were over 125,000 deaths from smallpox. (The Hadwen Documents)

- In Germany, compulsory mass vaccination against diphtheria commenced in 1940 and by 1945 diphtheria cases were up from 40,000 to 250,000. (Don't Get Stuck, Hannah Allen)

- In the USA in 1960, two virologists discovered that both polio vaccines were contaminated with the SV 40 virus which causes cancer in animals as well as changes in human cell tissue cultures. Millions of children had been injected with these vaccines. (Med Jnl of Australia 17/3/1973 p555)

- In 1967, Ghana was declared measles free by the World Health Organisation after 96% of its population was vaccinated. In 1972, Ghana experienced one of its worst measles outbreaks with its highest ever mortality rate. (Dr H Albonico, MMR Vaccine Campaign in Switzerland, March 1990)

- In the UK between 1970 and 1990, over 200,000 cases of whooping cough occurred in fully vaccinated children. (Community Disease Surveillance Centre, UK)

- In the 1970's a tuberculosis vaccine trial in India involving 260,000 people revealed that more cases of TB occurred in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. (The Lancet 12/1/80 p73)

- In 1977, Dr Jonas Salk who developed the first polio vaccine, testified along with other scientists, that mass inoculation against polio was the cause of most polio cases throughout the USA since 1961. (Science 4/4/77 "Abstracts" )

- In 1978, a survey of 30 States in the US revealed that more than half of the children who contracted measles had been adequately vaccinated. (The People's Doctor, Dr R Mendelsohn)

- In 1979, Sweden abandoned the whooping cough vaccine due to its ineffectiveness. Out of 5,140 cases in 1978, it was found that 84% had been vaccinated three times! (BMJ 283:696-697, 1981)

-The February 1981 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 90% of obstetricians and 66% of pediatricians refused to take the rubella vaccine.

- In the USA, the cost of a single DPT shot had risen from 11 cents in 1982 to $11.40 in 1987. The manufacturers of the vaccine were putting aside $8 per shot to cover legal costs and damages they were paying out to parents of brain damaged children and children who died after vaccination. (The Vine, Issue 7, January 1994, Nambour, Qld)

- In Oman between 1988 and 1989, a polio outbreak occurred amongst thousands of fully vaccinated children. The region with the highest attack rate had the highest vaccine coverage. The region with the lowest attack rate had the lowest vaccine coverage. (The Lancet, 21/9/91)

- In 1990, a UK survey involving 598 doctors revealed that over 50% of them refused to have the Hepatitis B vaccine despite belonging to the high risk group urged to be vaccinated. (British Med Jnl, 27/1/1990)

- In 1990, the Journal of the American Medical Association had an article on measles which stated " Although more than 95% of school-aged children in the US are vaccinated against measles, large measles outbreaks continue to occur in schools and most cases in this setting occur among previously vaccinated children." (JAMA, 21/11/90)

- In the New England Journal of Medicine July 1994 issue a study found that over 80% of children under 5 years of age who had contracted whooping cough had been fully vaccinated.

Quillan said...

What's the point? I left 2 comments recently and neither has been published. If it is closed take it down.