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Ivan Lewis responds to IDC Report

5 January 2012

Ivan Lewis MP, Shadow International Development Secretary, responding to the International Development Select Committee’s report on Working Effectively in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: DRC and Rwanda Commission published today, said:

“The International Development Select Committee’s report highlights serious concerns regarding the Government’s approach to fragile and conflict states. It raises valid questions about the way in which aid is allocated between states, the rationale on which this is based and which activities are eligible for reporting as Official Development Assistance (ODA).

It is also important, particularly following the Independent Commission for Aid Impact 2011 report on DfID’s approach to Anti-Corruption, that DfID is upfront regarding the corruption risks involved when operating in fragile and conflict states. Specifically the Select Committee report also highlights the level of violence against women and girls in the DRC. Major-General Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern Congo, has previously said that “It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.” This is a horrifying reflection on the situation for women and girls and any credible DfID results framework would specifically address this.”

“We fully support the decision to prioritise UK aid spending in fragile and conflict-affected states but with the UK spending 30% of its ODA in these states by 2015, it is crucial that this expenditure is delivered with a coordinated and strategic approach and maximum transparency.

I hope that Andrew Mitchell will use this opportunity to address the questions raised in the report and clarify his Department’s policy towards conflict and fragile states. It is important that UK aid is targeted towards those that need it the most and are the hardest to reach, but in these difficult financial times we also have a particular responsibility to strengthen public confidence and support.”

Over on Left Foot Forward, Marta Foresti from the ODI suggests that ‘In practice political aid conditionality often does not work‘ arguing that ‘there is simply no way to enforce a one-size-fits-all mechanism that establishes minimum standards or thresholds for acceptable human rights performance’.

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