United Kingdom—Commitment to Development Index

The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on policies that affect people living in poorer nations. This is the country report for United Kingdom. For results of all countries, visit the main CDI page.

Overall

The United Kingdom ranks 9th on this year’s Commitment to Development Index. The UK performs strongest in aid, trade, and environment.
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Aid

The United Kingdom has among the best aid policies, with excellent scores on aid quality and aid quantity. In 2014, the UK provided 0.7% of its GNI for development assistance, one of the few countries meeting the international commitment of 0.7% GNI. The quality of its foreign aid is above average in the clear majority of all indicators forming the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) indicator. The UK places only low administrative burdens on recipient countries, making aid more efficient and has role-model policies on fostering institutions.
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Finance

The UK ranks average on the finance component. Its international investment agreements are the best among all CDI countries, considering public policy goals of its investment partners and including a sustainable development approach. Regarding its institutional commitments, it also has a good score. The UK could strengthen its performance as an open and transparent investor by a more comprehensive commitment to the OECD guidelines on multinational companies. Regarding financial secrecy, the UK scores low as it allows secrecy within its sphere of influence (that is, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies). It could still significantly improve Its corporate transparency regulations, requiring that company ownership details are publicly available online. Furthermore, the UK could work on improving in its tax and financial regulations, making them more efficient for investment in development.
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Technology

The UK’s performance in the technology sector is below average. Its current rank (20th) is due to a rather weak performance in both sub components. The UK provides relatively low government support to research and development, and to provision of adequate incentives for business R&D. In 2014 the UK government provided only 0.56% of its GDP to research and development and had relatively low incentives for business R&D. Out of the different sectors, it provides relatively high governmental support to R&D to its universities, to the health sector and to transport, telecommunication and other infrastructures. The UK also does not play a leading role in the diffusion of technology to developing countries with its intellectual property rights regulations. It could encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing by establishing rights loss provisions which are more adequate to developing countries and by changing its strict database protection regulations.
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Environment

The UK ranks above average on the environment component. It scores relatively high because of its relatively high petrol taxes. The UK also scores well for low fishing subsidies and its biodiversity treaty obligations. It could improve its score through a further reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions per capita. It gets credit for ratifying the Paris agreement and for having low import of tropical timber (average rate for all European countries).
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Trade

As in the previous year, the UK ranks among the top 10 on trade, scoring above average in all three indicators. The UK imposes few restrictions on imports. The UK also facilitates trade in services by imposing relatively few restrictions on service providers from other countries. While it doesn't impose high tariffs on products in general, the UK has room for improvement concerning beef tariffs.
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Security

The United Kingdom ranks slightly below average on security (16th). It is party to all international security agreements considered in the CDI. However, it exports arms to poor and undemocratic countries. It could also contribute significantly more to international peacekeeping efforts and strengthen its efforts for patrolling global sea lanes.
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Migration

The UK scores slightly below average on the migration component. The UK has good policies on students from developing countries, and this is reflected in the (backward looking) data (second highest share of all CDI countries). However, there is room for improvement in its integration policies (MIPEX score) and by accepting more asylum seekers and increase the refugee acceptance rate. The UK could further improve its migration policies through deepening its commitment to international frameworks by ratifying the Convention on the Treatment of Migrant Workers.
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