Select Committee on International Development Fifth Report


The International Development Committee has agreed to the following Report:





Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will require an additional US$50 billion in aid per year, a doubling of current aid levels. The United Nations Conference on Financing for Development—the "Monterrey Summit"—took place from March 18-22. The aim of the Monterrey Summit was not solely to increase aid; rather it was to mobilise, and increase the effective use of financial resources in order to meet the MDG targets.

The most dramatic outcomes of the summit process were the aid increases announced by the EU and the USA which total an extra US$12 billion per year. This is less than a quarter of the funds needed to meet the MDG targets. Nevertheless, we welcome these increases as steps in the right direction.

This report examines financing for development as part of an emerging global new deal, looking at the conference preparations and outcomes, and at a range of issues which were discussed, including innovative sources of finance, aid, trade and debt relief.

Our conclusions and recommendations include:

  • Trade-related policies including the EU's Common Agricultural Policy must be reformed, and debt-relief processes improved, so that developing countries are able to earn and retain the resources they need to meet the MDG targets;

  • Proposals for innovative sources of finance—including currency transactions taxes, special drawing rights, and an international development trust fund—merit further consideration. But they must not distract attention from the need for Governments to finance development directly;

  • Aid is the only resource that can be focussed exclusively on poverty reduction. We warmly welcome the recently announced increase in UK aid, which by 2006 will take the UK's aid contributions to 0.4 percent of Gross National Income. Nevertheless, we call on the Government to set a timetable for meeting its longstanding 0.7 percent commitment;

  • Aid donors and recipients must work together to improve the effectiveness of aid. Recipients must commit themselves to poverty reduction and good governance. Donors must provide sufficient, timely and quality aid, invested carefully and sensitively so as to encourage local ownership;

  • The UK Government must do its utmost to ensure that the emerging global development partnership is a balanced partnership characterised by transparency, fairness, mutual accountability, and the equitable sharing of financial burdens. Continuing efforts should be made also to ensure that the USA focuses its Millennium Challenge Accounts on poverty reduction and meeting the MDG targets.

The Chancellor told us that his aim was to ensure that "no country genuinely committed to good governance, economic development and poverty reduction, and to the opening up of trade and investment, is denied the chance to achieve the 2015 goals through lack of resources". This is a fine aim. It implies that significantly more aid will go to those countries which use it effectively to reduce poverty. The Government should make the case for aid and international development even more strongly than it already does, in international fora, to its EU partners, and to the electorate. Now is the time for action to implement the agreements reached and reiterated at Monterrey, and to make the global new deal a reality.

Background and Acknowledgements

The UN Conference on Financing for Development was held in Monterrey, Mexico, from 18 to 22 March 2002. On 6 February the Committee announced an inquiry to take place at the conclusion of the conference, in order to examine the conference process and outcomes, and to investigate issues on the Financing for Development agenda. We received twenty-two written memoranda from a range of organisations with interests, expertise, and experience in this area, and held three evidence sessions at Westminster.

We are grateful to all the people and organisations who gave evidence to the inquiry, and to those who assisted us in other ways. We would like to thank especially the following people who gave oral evidence: the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Rt Hon Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development; Barrie Ireton, Department for International Development; Gus O'Donnell, HM Treasury; Belen Vazquez of Action Aid; Jenny Ross of British Overseas NGOs for Development; Tony German and Judith Randel of Development Initiatives; Simon Maxwell and John Roberts of the Overseas Development Institute; Professor Paul Mosley of the University of Sheffield; Steve Tibbett of War on Want; and Professor Paul Bernd Spahn of Goethe University, Frankfurt.


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Prepared 24 July 2002