The Conservative Party did poorly in those elections, and this did not exactly help Andrew Mitchell's efforts to make good on his promises. The non-appearance of the 0.7 Bill in the Queen's speech was widely trailed and so the critics were well primed.
But are we too obsessed with the 0.7? Yes, it is a clear and meaningful commitment, but it is ironic that many of us are saying on the one hand that DFID cannot handle its increasing spend, in more fragile contexts, while demonstrating impact, with fewer staff and, on the other hand, that it should rapidly increase its spend.
Personally, I am content with a steady, measured increase in the quantity of aid. What I want to see is an improvement in the quality of aid. And that includes wanting to see DFID play more of an influencing role on places like the World Bank and the IMF to get them thinking more seriously about the quality of growth.
But perhaps even more importantly I want to see a greater contribution from the whole of the UK Government to global development--what are other ministries doing on climate, trade, security, diplomacy, tax havens, intellectual property and the like?
CGD has led the way on this with their Commitment to Development Index and in the coming months Matthew Lockwood and I will be doing some more in depth work on the extent of the UK's whole of government approach to development. I will report on this as things progress.
ODA is 1% of UK government expenditure. Let's not forget about the other 99% and what it could do for global development.