What really matters for the world’s poorest is the development results they see on the ground. It is our duty to spend every pound of aid effectively. We will set out expected results for everything we do and monitor them carefully, working with our partners.
Following the Paris declaration and the subsequent decisions made in Accra in 2008, will the Secretary of State update us on the ability to harmonise the way forward for such donors’ work, rather than being in a position in which that is not complementary, or involves cooking the books?
My hon. Friend makes an important point. The commitments in the Paris declaration are based on the lessons learned in relation to improving the impact of aid, including having more focus on results while supporting partner countries’ priorities, not least co-ordinating how various multilateral and bilateral donors come together. When I was in Uganda recently I was heartened to see our DFID office taking a leadership role in bringing multilateral donors together as part of the commitment following the Paris declaration and the Accra agenda thereafter.
Let me strongly endorse what the Secretary of State said at his party conference. He said that we have a
“duty to bring an end to the injustice of millions of children dying every year from drinking dirty water.”
Will he reassure the House that he will reject the recent option presented to him by his Department to drop the vital commitments to help 25 million people to gain access to water and sanitation in Africa over the next five years and to help 30 million people in south Asia by 2011? Will he reassure the House that that commitment still stands?
First, may I take this opportunity warmly to welcome the hon. Lady to her new post and to congratulate her on it? I look forward to the numerous exchanges that we shall have in the House. She will be aware that we are reviewing all programmes, be they bilateral or multilateral. As we are focusing so much more on outcomes rather than inputs, I think that she can look forward positively to the likely result of the review, particularly in relation to water and sanitation. She is right that they are crucial, and I dare say that during the recent conference season, she, as much as I, was engaged with a number of those making representations to ensure that that emphasis is reflected in programmes as they come through the review of bilateral and multilateral aid.