Snap! When aid to conflict-affected states gets un-conflicting

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The International Development Committee has kicked off the New Year with a report on “Working Effectively in Fragile and Conflict Affected States: DRC and Rwanda” .  There are some strong resonances with the arguments CAFOD made in 2010 on how the UK should be spending its bilateral aid money.  Who knows whether they’ve read our stuff or not (it might be that we’ve both been influenced by the same third parties) – but there are a number of policy ‘snap’ moments.

The IDC report leads with same key message as CAFOD:  That the rationale for why some countries get more aid money than others needs to be made explicit.  This is particularly important to address the issue of whether the UK’s security interests are playing a part in aid allocations – a critical concern in fragile and conflict affected states.

Last year we also scrutinised the then Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, when he complained that the requirements on aid transparency would make life more difficult for the MOD.  The IDC are on the same page when they point out the need for clarity on whether activities are eligible as aid or not, especially when other government departments are spending this money.

CAFOD made a specific submission on the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of the Bilateral Aid Review, and there are several resonances with this document and the IDC report.  We share recommendations to emphasise community level development rather than exclusively focusing on government systems, and call for the transparency and accountability of the mining sector.

A report on conflict that is, on these issues at least, distinctly un-conflicting.  Whether by coincidence or influence, these emerging areas of consensus may offer a few stepping stones of shared ground in a policy area where this is often hard to come by.

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