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DFID's White Paper: Making governance work for the poor

24 July 2006 - On Thursday 13 July DFID launched its new White Paper on International Development, 'eliminating world poverty: making governance work for the poor'. It sets out what the UK Government will do to reduce world poverty over the next five years.

The White Paper sets out DFID’s priorities and explains how we will work with the rest of UK Government, partner governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics and the private sector to fulfil the promises made in 2005 to significantly reduce world poverty.

The White Paper’s main messages are:

  • We will deliver the promises we made in 2005 by: increasing our development budget to 0.7% of gross national income by 2013; concentrating our resources on the poorest countries – particularly sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – and working more in fragile states; making sure that wider UK policies support development; and doubling funding for science and technology.
  • We will put governance at the centre of our work – focusing on building states that are capable, responsive and accountable to their citizens. We will use a new framework for assessing the quality of governance to do this and use the assessment to tailor our support appropriately to country circumstances. We will also step up our efforts dramatically to tackle corruption internationally, for example through a new anti-corruption unit and follow up to Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
  • We will increase our effort to help people have security, incomes through growth and public services. We will commit 50% of all future bilateral aid to public services for poor people - social protection will be a major new area of work.
  • We will work internationally to tackle climate change, by helping developing countries to participate in international negotiations on climate change and to integrate adaptation to climate change impacts into their development programmes.
  • We will help create an international system fit for the 21st century, focusing on UN reform, a more effective and responsive World Bank, IMF and regional banks, and closer working relationships with EU Member States and the EC to ensure that EU aid is effective and that non-aid policies support development.

Additonally, here are some highlights that focus on education issues:

  • Our priority is to get the 100 million children of primary school age who are not currently attending school into a classroom with a teacher. Education is both a right and a route out of poverty. People who have been to school are more likely to find work, look after their health and demand that governments act in their interests. But on current trends, 67 countries will not achieve the MDG for universal primary education. Urgent action is needed to increase funding, and to deal with the problems that prevent children from going to school – including the devastating effects of AIDS.
  • School fees deter parents from enrolling their children, particularly girls. Seventy-eight out of 94 low income countries charge some type of fee for primary education. When faced with a choice of paying for a son or daughter to go to school, parents will often choose the son. Countries that have abolished school fees, however, have seen a huge increase in enrolment. The UK strongly supports free primary education, and is helping governments to pay for the additional teachers and classrooms needed to cope with the growing numbers of children in school.
  • Helping girls enrol and stay in school means tackling the discrimination they face. Community awareness programmes about the importance of educating girls help. More women teachers and better sanitation in schools also helps overcome some of the social barriers. This is why the UK supports the UN Girls Education Initiative, together with special projects to support girls education.
  • Many developing countries will need to increase their spending on education. This will require a substantial increase in aid, until the poorest countries have grown enough to support themselves. Providing a good quality education to all children of primary school age by 2015 will require an extra US$10 billion in aid each year. This will include the costs of removing school fees, dealing with the effects of AIDS, and providing school meals and grants to help poor families send their children to school.
  • The Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI), which the UK supports, estimates that by 2008 up to 60 countries will have credible plans to get all children into primary education by 2015.


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