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Multilateral Aid Review

Volume 572: debated on Wednesday 11 December 2013

I would like to inform the House of the publication today of the multilateral aid review update report.

In 2011 this Government published the multilateral aid review (MAR)—the first systematic assessment of the performance of the 43 multilateral organisations that the UK supports through core funding. The MAR is a central part of our wider efforts to ensure that we scrutinise the value for money of each pound we spend, whether we do so directly or through other organisations. Our efforts in this area were recognised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) who gave us their civil service award for the most improved Government body on value for money and financial management in 2013. Other donor countries have emulated our approach.

The findings of the review confirmed the important role multilateral organisations play in supporting the UK to meet its development and humanitarian objectives —delivering humanitarian support in countries affected by conflict such as Syria or by natural disasters such as the Philippines, on promoting the rights of women and girls, and in ensuring that developing countries have the infrastructure they need to support their economic growth. The review also had a major impact on our spending decisions. While some high-performing organisations received considerable increases in funding, some poor performing institutions had their funding stopped altogether and others were asked to make urgent reforms if they wished to secure any future funding from DFID. The review also highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of multilateral organisations, and enabled us to give them a clear list of future priorities and essential reforms.

The MAR update has been undertaken to assess whether the multilateral organisations have made the progress we asked for. The report being published today sets out the results of this work. It shows that all of the multilaterals have made improvements over the two years since the multilateral aid review, that those organisations we asked to make urgent reforms are making progress, and that some multilaterals which were already doing well are doing even better. There have been significant improvements in crucial areas such as the management of finances, and how organisations work with others. This is encouraging, but more needs to be done. Not all organisations made the progress we expected of them, and the performance of some in critically important areas, such as the empowerment of women and girls, could be improved.

The Department for International Development (DFID) remains committed to strengthening multilateral effectiveness. Over the next year we will use the evidence from this update to work with multilaterals and other partners to bring about further change. There will be a particular focus on areas where progress has been too slow. We will also work with other Governments to ensure that the methodology and evidence base for future multilateral effectiveness assessments continue to improve, providing a sound basis for a full reassessment of the value for money that multilateral organisations offer in 2015. In doing so, we will seek to address issues raised with us by multilateral organisations, and in the informed commentary by the International Development Committee and others.

I am placing a copy of the MAR update report in the Libraries of both Houses.