Monday, July 06, 2009

UK Aid: £9bn to help 20 war-torn countries

From, Monday, July 06, 2009:
£9bn to help 20 war-torn countries
A new poverty action plan to help the world's poorest people cope with the economic crisis has been announced by [UK] International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.

Launching the White Paper Building our Common Future, Alexander said there was a fundamental shift in the way the UK delivers development aid, refocusing resources on to fragile countries and for the first time treating security and justice as a basic service alongside health, education, water and sanitation. Fifty per cent of new bilateral funding will be committed to fragile countries, he said, with £120m being spent by 2014 on training police officers, setting up law courts and protecting women from violence. There would also be a sharper focus on creating jobs in five of the most vulnerable countries – Yemen, Nepal, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Afghanistan.

The White Paper underlined the UK's commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on international development, equating to around £9bn per year by 2013, while also cutting maternal mortality rates with the aim of potentially saving the lives of six million mothers and babies by 2015, helping eight million more children in Africa go to school, doubling funding to £1bn for African infrastructure including transport, energy and trade in the region, tripling of funding to support developing countries recover stolen assets, and giving more to the Central Emergency Response Fund for humanitarian aid at the UN.

Alexander said: "We have made great strides over the past decade in tackling global poverty but there is much still to do. The economic downturn has had a devastating effect on the developing world, while millions live surrounded by conflict and violence. And we must face up to the havoc climate change could cause in the poorest countries. "

He added: "We will take action to save lives, put children in school and give mothers access to much-needed healthcare. But we will also support economic growth and tackle climate change – for many developing countries not a future threat but a current reality."

The changes will be backed by new branding under the name of 'UK Aid' to make people more aware of what efforts the government is making to aid international development.


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