This article took a while to appear but it’s worth it. Here, as many others have done, I dissect the coalition (or Tory-led) government’s two aid reviews that were released in March 2011–the Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) and the Bilateral Aid Review (BAR). They are the first two major reviews on UK Development Policy conduct after a long time (I believe so) and of course there was the Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (HERR) released later.
You can read the whole article which states that this is a fundamental change from the Labour’s government International Development policy of just supporting every single International Organisation (IO) or every agency related to international development. Instead it critically reviews all of them and furthermore picks winners and losers by ranking them into four different categories. Following suit, this ranking thus sets out who DFID/the Coalition government’s favourite agencies and IOs and where its development priorities lies. Third, this is further emphasised in the BAR which radically shifts away from the Labour government’s objectives. Previously, the Labour government pledged to spend 90% of its aid on Less Developed Countries (LDCs) (although this was never met). Now, the BAR states that the government will eventually focus on 27 countries in its bilateral aid agenda, a good proportion of them like India for example, not being LDCs but receiving the highest amount of UK bilateral aid.
I conclude my noting that yes, this is the review of one major donor and may not affect the whole aid and development system. But it sends a sharp message that UK aid will never be the same.