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Globalisation and Global Poverty Policy Group Report

Written by Simon Maxwell


The Conservative Party’s Globalisation and Global Poverty Policy Group reported today.  At nearly 500 pages long, the report is a substantial contribution: there are 76 recommendations.  Without being party political, we are going to use the blog to discuss the analysis and recommendations.  Contributions are welcome.

The report of the Group can be found here.  The Group was chaired by Peter Lilley and had 17 members, drawn from parliament, academia, and business.  Bob Geldof is listed as an adviser.  The Group was deliberately not party political in its composition.

There were six working groups and there are six main chapters, dealing with (a) aid, (b) economic development, (c) trade, (d) corruption and governance, (e) conflict, fragile states and humanitarian aid, and (f) DFID.

In his Introduction, Peter Lilley writes

‘We recognise that our advice is directed in the first instance towards the Conservative party which is sympathetic to private enterprise, free trade, and property rights as well as to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. But since Conservatives also respect the national sovereignty of other countries our approach is not to impose a particular policy package on developing countries. Indeed our central theme is the need to empower the people in the countries we seek to help rather than succumbing to the arrogant delusion that donors like the UK can do it for them. (Furthermore) we must not imagine that aid can do it all.'

The recommendations cover all the main themes of the Report.  The press Release says that the Group’s main recommendations include:

  • A call for an all-party Campaign for Real Trade, leading to unilateral opening of rich country markets to all low income countries, with more generous rules of origin; also the abolition of export subsidies, more aid for trade, and support for the removal of trade barriers between developing countries, leading to a Pan-African Free Trade Area.
  • The creation of Partnership Trusts at country level, which involve the aid of different donors being pooled in a single institution in which local representatives would be non-voting trustees.
  • The creation of Demand-Led Funds, which would invite project applications from local organisations, NGOs and private companies, as well as national and local governments.
  • An Independent Evaluation Group, modelled on the national Audit Office, to evaluate DFID’s aid effort.
  • A Global Donor Index, to measure each country’s performance and effectiveness.
  • Tackling corruption through greater transparency, including through pubic expenditure tracking surveys.
  • More help for agriculture, infrastructure and growth.

Some further (highly selective) recommendations from the Executive Summary include:

  • A Human Rights Review Panel, to advise on whether aid should continue to flow to countries abusing human rights.
  • Restrictions on foreign health workers allowed into the UK from countries with severe staff shortages, such that only designated training posts should be open to medical staff from shortage countries.
  • Bursary Funds to provide support for secondary school leavers entering higher education.
  • Stronger action on corruption, including a new Corruption Bill.
    Support to AU on conflict.
  • An International Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Providing core funds to specialist NGOs to maintain emergency response teams.

In thinking about the overall tenor of the report, and about specific recommendations, readers might like to refer back to my blog at the end of June on the political divides in international development, reporting on a series of speeches by party spokespersons.  I identified aid effectiveness, corruption, the commitment to multilateralism, and the role of the state as potential battle grounds.  It is interesting to ask where the new report stands on those issues.

It might also be instructive to refer to my own ten-point programme for the future of international development, published in the Annual Report last week, and posted on the blog on 16 July.  It can be found here.