UK cuts foreign aid to 16 nations, puts more focus on ‘family planning’
LONDON, Thu Mar, 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a major overhaul to its foreign aid policies, Andrew Mitchell, British Secretary of State for International Development, on Tuesday announced that foreign aid funding will be cut from 16 countries and four U.N. agencies deemed to “no longer need it,” or “where the UK is not the best placed aid provider.”
A list of seven focal points for the new Department for International Development (DFID) aid policy includes a strategy to “help 10 million more women get access to modern family planning,” among other things such as securing schooling and safe drinking water.
“This government is taking a radically different approach to aid,” Mitchell said in a press release. “We want to be judged on our results, not on how much money we are spending.”
Among the 16 countries that will no longer receive direct aid from Britain are Burundi, Niger and Lesotho, ranked second, fourth and 28th respectively in a World Bank list of the world’s poorest countries.
According to a press release, the new program will focus on 27 countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and India. “The plans to redraw the aid map will concentrate efforts on countries where UKaid will, pound for pound, achieve the best results in fighting poverty and building a safer world, and where Britain is in the best position to deliver results,” said the press release.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, welcomed the changes, saying: “The UK is investing in women and children’s health which is a smart economic strategy.”
The Gates Foundation is well known for supporting population control measures through large monetary donations to International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Population Fund.
Harriet Harman, the shadow minister for international development, challenged Mitchell to explain the cuts to some of the poorest countries, the Guardian reported.
“Can he confirm that decisions to cut aid to very poor countries like Niger and Lesotho involved co-ordination with other donor countries to make sure that our decisions don’t leave them literally high and dry? Can I also ask him to explain his decision to end aid to Burundi where there is deep poverty and which is in the Great Lakes region where there is still instability?” Harman asked.
Britain has also threatened no longer to fund the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, U.N. Habitat, which promotes sustainable urban development, the International Labor Organization and the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. These four agencies were judged to be “poor performers” by the foreign aid review and are now subject to “special measures” unless they “improve their effectiveness.”
Funding for four other organizations, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, will be cut after they were “rated as providing poor value for money.”
At the same time, the new aid package will increase funding to nine organizations, which Mitchell says provide good value. These include UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
UNICEF, famous for statements such as, “Having a child remains one of the biggest health risks for women worldwide,” and implicated in providing vaccines contaminated with sterilizing agents to African countries was removed from the Vatican’s list of organizations in donated to in 1996. A Vatican press release noted that UNICEF had “begun to divert some of its already scarce economic and human resources from the care of the most basic needs of children” to abortion supporting activities.