A Westminster Hall debate on the 'UK's contribution to international disaster relief' is scheduled for Tuesday 6 February 2018 from 2.30 - 4.00pm. The Member initiating the debate is Andrew Bowie MP.Jump to full report >>
UK bilateral spending on humanitarian aid has steadily increased over the past seven years, with a particularly rapid increase around 2013-14. The vast majority of this spending goes on emergency response (94% in 2016), although the amounts going into both reconstruction and disaster prevention and preparedness have also been increasing in recent years.
There was controversy in late-2017 when the UK could not count its support to Overseas Territories affected by Hurricane Irma as aid spending. However, following UK Government lobbying within the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, this looks much less likely to happen again in future.
In September 2017, DFID published an update of the UK Government’s 2011 humanitarian policy. Now called the ‘Humanitarian Reform Policy’, then Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel said in the foreword:
The global humanitarian system helps enormous numbers of people and saves millions of lives. But it is clear that it is being stretched to breaking point. Conflict is currently driving the largest population movements since World War Two. We are living in the age of protracted crisis with 142 million people now in need of humanitarian aid. We need to break the cycle of dependence and despair for millions of people displaced by years of conflict, persecution, violence and human rights violations.
Need is great and growing, but resources have not grown at the same pace and there is now a funding gap of $14 billion. Being good enough is not going to be good enough given the scale and severity of the challenge ahead. We urgently need a more efficient, effective humanitarian system for the 21st Century that can meet vulnerable people’s long-term needs. This needs to be a global effort.
At the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the world agreed a clear vision for a radically improved humanitarian system where our responses are faster and more effective. I have encouraged the UN Secretary General to pursue an ambitious UN reform programme, and humanitarian reform is at the heart of that agenda. Britain is a great, global nation. This policy sets out the UK’s vision for change on humanitarian action. It describes innovations in the UK’s humanitarian response and how we will take forward an ambitious agenda to reform the international system. It will help build a more secure and more prosperous world, which makes our own country safer and stronger as well.
Responding to the new policy, the Overseas Development Institute welcomed many elements but expressed concerns about others. It set out these concerns as follows:
Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0030
Authors: Nigel Walker; Jon Lunn
Topic: International development