The prime minister’s most influential advisor, Dominic Cummings, is a champion of “effective altruism”—the use of evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to maximize the good with a given unit of resources. With the UK government in the midst of a major “Integrated Review” of its foreign, development, and defence policy—and the recent the formation of a merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirming it isn’t afraid of change—now’s a good time to consider whether the effective altruism movement can or should find great traction in UK aid programmes.
Being a force for good in the world is more than about branding, or even good intentions: it requires impact and an organisation capable of it. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s vision offers a good starting point for being a values-driven force for good in the world, but within that vision there are potential tensions that need to be managed, rather than left to seethe.
This note lays out calculations of the UK’s net fiscal contribution to the EU budget between the years 2008 to 2018, and quantifies the support provided to other EU countries to promote their economic growth, regional convergence and rural development, but which is not classified as aid.
Mikaela Gavas gives evidence to the House of Commons Future Relations with the European Union Committee.
Lee Robinson, Euan Ritchie, and Charles Kenny explore how the UK can heighten its R&D official development assistance spend.
This paper outlines the broad rationale for approaches beyond patents to support the development of technologies specifically useful to developing countries and the role for aid-funded approaches within that
Following the announcement of the merger between DfID and FCO, Stefan Dercon and Ranil Dissanayake take a look at the opportunities of the merger.
The Commitment to Development Index ranks 40 countries on their development policies. How did your country do this year?
On 30th April, Ian Mitchell submitted written evidence on aid effectiveness to the UK's International Development Select Committee.
On March 17, Ian Mitchell submitted evidence to the United Kingdom's House of Commons International Development Committee on the effectiveness of UK aid.
As the UK undertakes “the biggest review of Britain's place in the world since the end of the Cold War,” our experts explore how global health could be incorporated into the integrated review.
Mikaela Gavas gives oral evidence to the United Kingdom's House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on development cooperation after Brexit.
The UK’s Secretary of State for International Development oversees an aid-financed R&D budget that is larger than that of the next 15 biggest donors combined. At the moment, a considerable proportion of that UK R&D spend goes towards solving global technological challenges related to neglected tropical diseases including malaria, and a considerable proportion again towards local evaluation of aid-financed development interventions. Much of the rest is somewhat opaquely distributed to British universities for research supposedly related to development.
“Contractors or Collectives?” Earmarked Funding of Multilaterals, Donor Needs and Institutional Integrity: The World Bank as a Case Study
This paper revisits earlier analyses of the pros and cons of so-called “Multi-bi” funding, or earmarked bilateral funding channelled through a multilateral development institution like the World Bank.
As Health Secretary Matt Hancock returns to his role as part of Boris Johnson’s premiership, he has an opportunity to make good on the UK’s renewed confidence and ambition by drawing on what the new prime minister calls the “best healthcare [system]” to drive improvements in health globally.
The UK has considerably increased the amount of aid it spends on research in recent years. We suggest reporting reforms that will increase transparency and allow greater scrutiny of the way UK research aid is spent. We also call for the UK to live up to its reporting to the OECD that all British aid is untied.
The Quality of UK Aid Spending, 2011–2018: An Analysis of Evaluations by the Independent Commission on Aid Impact
This paper analyses the grades awarded in the 65 primary reviews undertaken by the UK Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) over its first eight years of operation, from 2011 to 2018. It finds that ICAI has directly evaluated £28bn of UK aid over the period. Around four-fifths of spend assessed was graded as “satisfactory” (amber/green) or “strong” (green). The findings from ICAI reviews, and this report, should inform the UK Government’s aid allocations between departments at the forthcoming spending review.
This paper discusses the United Kingdom’s foreign aid quality based on an updated assessment of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) published by the Center for Global Development. We find UK aid quality has decreased from 2012 to 2016 and now ranks 15th out of the 27 countries assessed.