Cameron directs aid budget towards peacekeeping missions
David Cameron has today discussed the possibility of diverting funds from the Department of International Development to help support peacekeeping missions and other overseas defence-orientated projects implemented by the Ministry of Defence.
Currently on the final leg of his tour of India, the Prime Minister touched on several significant issues relating to defence budgets and development initiatives and discussed in depth the dilemma facing most development agencies.
He pointed out that ‘conflict states haven’t met a Millennium Development Goal between them’. Cameron has seemingly re-opened the debate into how foreign aid should be used to assist developing and conflict-ridden states.
Stressing the need to evaluate current development projects in light of the apparent failure to meet post-conflict state requirements, Cameron asserted ‘we should be thinking very carefully about how we help states that have been riven with conflict and war’.
Whilst international charities such as Oxfam have criticised the possible use of the £10bn aid budget on peacekeeping missions, others have applauded the Prime Ministers recognition for the need to focus on security related matters, demobilisation and peacekeeping.
Quoted by the BBC he said: ‘It is obviously true that if we help deliver security and help provide stability and help with stabilisation, that is the basis from which all development can proceed’, Cameron’s comments will no doubt please critics of the “new orthodoxy” within Development Studies that places emphasis on the implementation of democracy over the stabilisation of the state.
Back in 2012, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his pledge to increase the aid budget to 0.7% of the Gross National Income and Britain is currently one of the largest aid donors within the European Union. With concerns from Conservative backbenchers regarding recent defense cuts, however, Cameron faces huge pressure to ensure that money is being spent appropriately.
With countries such as Mali and Syria in desperate need of development assistance, the British government may well be keen to avoid a repeat of Iraq and Afghanistan, both of whom are reportedly relapsing into internal conflicts once more.
The decision to evaluate how development money is spent is perhaps then, a sensible move. David Cameron was keen to stress that any money diverted from the Department for International Development would be carefully considered. “I think we have to demonstrate that the DfID budget is spent wisely.”
Photo: Pete Gowing / MoD