New fund to fight corruption
Thursday July 13, 2006
A £100m fund to fight corruption in the developing world was announced by the government today.
The move came in an international development white paper setting out Britain's aid policy for the next five years.
It came alongside measures to help developing countries face the challenges of climate change and major spending increases
on education, health, water and sanitation and social security.
The white paper sets out how the UK aims to meet the challenges addressed at last year's G8 summit at Gleneagles.
The international development secretary, Hilary Benn, said: "We have made progress in the last 12 months but we have not
yet made poverty history."
Mr Benn said that long-term progress in the fight against poverty could not be achieved without better governance in
The £100m governance transparency fund would be used to improve accountability through a free media, parliamentarians
and trade unions.
There would be regular assessments of transparency which would inform decisions on the distribution of aid, and a UK
action plan to tackle international corruption, which would report every six months.
"Long-term progress in the fight against poverty will only be achieved through effective governance and by people with the
voice and confidence to hold their government to account," Mr Benn said.
On financial support, he said the UK would double spending on education by 2010 to more than £1bn.
Spending on water and sanitation would more than double between 2007 and 2010 from £95m to £200m, while the UK
would work with developing countries on "ambitious" 10-year health plans, which would seek to abolish user fees.
There would also be a "significant increase" in spending on social security in at least 10 Asian and African countries over
the next three years.
Mr Benn said the UK would push to give developing countries a say in international discussions on climate change and the
right to participate in emissions trading schemes.
"Poor countries have made the least contribution to climate change but are likely to be hit the hardest," he said.
The international development secretary also called for "urgent reform" of the United Nations to enable it to respond better
to humanitarian emergencies.
Britain would press the UN to streamline operations and integrate humanitarian work under a single coordinator.
"We need an international development system that is fit for the challenges of this century, not the last," Mr Benn said.
"So we will use our money and influence to push for urgent reform of the UN so that it can lead the international response
when poor countries face emergencies - whether wars or natural disasters."
In Britain, investment in education on development issues would be doubled to allow children to "learn about the issues that
shape their world".
Faith and community groups would be helped to build links with developing nations and younger people would be given more
opportunities to take up voluntary work overseas.
The white paper came on the eve of the G8 summit of rich industrialised nations in St Petersburg at which - in stark contrast
to last year's gathering at Gleneagles - development is not one of the key items on the agenda.
The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: "Trade unions will welcome the government's commitment to democracy
and good government.
"Unions are often the main democratic organisations in developing countries.
"They depend on democracy and they make a major contribution to the good government that ensures aid gets to the people
who need it most.
"The emphasis on the public sector is also important as public services are essential to combating poverty and providing
"Education and health are key priorities, and they are best kept public.
"We hope the UK government takes this message to the G8 this weekend to make sure world leaders meeting put their
promises on poverty first."
The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, said: "As a country which has relatively recently emerged
from dictatorship, we know how important good government is.
"Trade unions played a major part in the restoration of democracy in Nigeria, and the Nigeria Labour Congress continues to
play that role - keeping governments honest and speaking out when things are not good.
"I stressed the importance of good government to prime minister Tony Blair when we met him in the company of other world
trade union leaders last summer ahead of the Gleneagles G8 summit.
"Overall, the white paper represents a positive response to the challenge to make poverty history.
"However, it remains a fundamental imperative for the UK government and the G8 to appreciate even more that a critical
factor in sustainable development is to have fairer trade policies that will decisively address global trading imbalances.
"There is a need for commitment to ensure that Africa is guaranteed market access for both agricultural and value-added
products in order to improve her share of world income and generate prosperity at home."
Christian Aid said the white paper was "both positive and disappointing in equal measure".
The charity's head of policy, Charles Abugre, praised the commitment of 0.7% of GDP to aid by 2013 - meeting the UN's
target - but argued that the government had been "overly timid" on reform.
He singled out the UK's alleged complicity with corruption.
Mr Abugre said: "The focus is all on Africa. But it takes two to tango - UK companies have the power to encourage
corruption, by paying bribes, and therefore the government has the power to tackle it.
"We must focus on our own back yard as much as focusing on Africa.
"It is also good that the paper acknowledges for the first time the threat that climate change poses to poor people but the
paper lacks vision.
"Given the scale of the impending disaster, the government should have moved away from its 'growth is always good' mantra
and tried to find a way to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions that also reduced poverty."
Mr Abugre added that the government had not been "hard enough" on institutions like the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank.
"These institutions should be dragged into the 21st century and made into genuine instruments that work for poverty
reduction," he said.
Mr Abugre also called for action to tackle the loss of illegal monies from Africa.
"Britain attracts billions of dollars every year of global capital flight from poor countries into its tax shelters," he said.
"Tony Blair promised he would trace these and then retrieve them. This paper shows he has done neither."
Benedict Southworth, the director of the World Development Movement, said: "The announcement of additional DfID
funding for water and sanitation is very welcome.
"6,000 children die every day because they don't have access to clean water. What we must do now is ensure that these
additional funds are spent where they will be most effective.
"And that means investing in extending and improving the public sector in the developing world. "Unfortunately the white
paper also represents a missed opportunity for DfID to distance itself from the failed approach of forcing water
privatisation on developing countries.
"There is a widespread recognition that if we are to deliver the millenium development goal, of halving the number of people
without access to water by 2015, investment in the public sector is the only way forward."
Le Mensonge peut courir un an, la vérité le rattrape en un jour, dit le sage Haoussa
se SURPASSER ,ne JAMAIS ABDIQUER,TOUJOURS RESTER HUMBLE