Conservatives lead DFID for first time (updated)

by | May 13, 2010

Andrew Mitchell becomes the first Conservative Secretary of State at the UK’s Department for International Development. DFID was formed in 1997, as one of the first acts of the Blair government.

So far, Mitchell sounds quite a bit like DFID’s first head,  Clare Short, promising to focus on poverty eradication:

We must make 2010 the year when we get the Millennium Development Goals back on-track and make real progress towards what we all want to see: a world free from poverty. I look forward to getting to work to help make that happen.

Update: Owen Barder comments:

The Conservatives have made no secret of their desire to ensure that Britain’s world-class development work is more closely integrated with the UK’s other international work led by the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence. The aim is to have a more joined up foreign policy, which may result in DFID being more engaged in post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction in future.

I’m personally in favour of a more joined up foreign policy, but this integration of development policy with other UK objectives must not be a one-way street: it must also be that other government policies are designed to support the UK’s objectives for development and poverty reduction. The commitment in Andrew Mitchell’s statement to “harness the full range of British government policies” is therefore especially welcome.

As someone who cares passionately about the need for greater transparency of aid, I also welcome Andrew Mitchell’s emphasis on this. This bodes well for continued and strengthened UK support for the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). A group of 18 donors so far, who together give half of global aid, are working through IATI towards a common international standard for publication of detailed and timely information about aid: this offers the possibility of a step change in the accessibility of global aid information, which will help to make more accountable and effective.

Reaction and analysis from the Guardian.


  • David Steven is a senior fellow at New York University, where he founded the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a multi-stakeholder partnership to deliver the SDG targets for preventing all forms of violence, strengthening governance, and promoting justice and inclusion. He was lead author for the ministerial Task Force on Justice for All and senior external adviser for the UN-World Bank flagship study on prevention, Pathways for Peace. He is a former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of The Risk Pivot: Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). In 2001, he helped develop and launch the UK’s network of climate diplomats. David lives in and works from Pisa, Italy.

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