1. Purpose, scope and rationale
The purpose of this performance review is to assess the effectiveness of UK humanitarian aid to Syria. It will explore whether UK aid is being planned, managed and overseen so as to reach the intended beneficiaries and respond to their needs in a cost-effective manner. It is expected that lessons from the review will be applicable to the Department for International Development’s (DFID) management of large-scale humanitarian operations in complex and protracted crises in the future.
ICAI is conducting a review of the Conflict Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) – a major new cross-government aid fund. The CSSF is overseen by the National Security Council (NSC) and provides money to support projects intended to prevent conflict, increase stability and respond to international crises.
The UK aid strategy outlines a commitment to increasing UK aid investment on global health risks, including infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. Global health threats are of increasing concern to the international community, as well as representing a challenge to British interests. The recent Ebola crisis in West Africa served to highlight the considerable risks that infectious disease epidemics pose to development.
Disaster Resilience – defined by DFID as “the ability of countries, communities and households to manage change, by maintaining or transforming living standards in the face of shocks or stresses – such as earthquakes, drought or violent conflict – without compromising their long-term prospects” – is now a prominent concept in DFID’s strategy.
With several African countries threatened by famine and fears that climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, this is an opportune time to assess the performance of DFID’s programming on disaster resilience.
ICAI’s follow-up review looks at how well DFID and other government departments have responded to the recommendations it made in previous reviews.
The UK’s aid response to irregular migration in the central Mediterranean
UK aid interventions designed to address irregular migration through the central Mediterranean are currently some distance from making a measurable impact, a new review has found. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) – which scrutinises taxpayer-funded UK aid – also warned that there is a risk that some programmes supported by UK aid in the region could cause unintended harm to vulnerable migrants.
ICAI examined how well the Department for International Development (DFID) used cash transfer programmes to reduce poverty and vulnerability.
The review found that the transfers – which include any regular payments made to individuals or households – had consistently increased incomes and consumption levels among some of the world’s poorest people, and presented a strong value for money case.
Managing the transition from traditional aid to new kinds of development partnerships is increasingly important for DFID in the current aid landscape.
ICAI examined how well the Department for International Development managed the process of ending bilateral aid, or transitioning to new forms of development partnerships, in seven countries.
The global migration crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing the international community today.
The UK Government has pledged to address the root causes of irregular migration and to facilitate the adoption of safe, responsible policies and solutions for migrants. The UK Aid Strategy recognises that violence and conflict in Africa and the Middle East are causing unprecedented migration flows to Europe and sets out intentions to build stability and tackle the root causes of conflict.
ICAI’s latest review finds that UK aid has reached 62.9 million people with water, sanitation and hygiene interventions over five years, but must do more to ensure these improvements are sustainable.
The review highlighted sustainability as an area of particular concern, with not enough being done to ensure that improved WASH access was becoming a permanent part of people’s lives.
DFID needs to do more to address long-term problems like water security, maintenance of infrastructure, strengthening local institutions so they can manage services, and changing behaviour.
Over the period 2007-11, the UK Government was the second largest donor to UNICEF, contributing £690 million. The review looks at the impact and effectiveness of DFID’s partnership with UNICEF.
This report provides insight into the UK’s relationship with UNICEF by examining delivery of a range of aid programmes in Africa. The report recognises that UNICEF is delivering tangible benefits but that DFID needs to manage UNICEF as a strategic partner and provide greater clarity to UNICEF with regard to its role in and expectations of each programme.
The UK government has made a strong commitment to using the aid programme to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) in developing countries. The challenge is a daunting one. VAWG is deeply rooted in cultural norms and unequal power relations between women and men. One in three women around the world experiences intimate partner violence, and other forms of VAWG are also widespread. As well as being a violation of women’s fundamental human rights, VAWG has profound personal, social and economic consequences.
The UK government has committed to spending 50% of DFID’s budget in fragile states and regions – many of which are affected by conflict. In these complex environments delivering effective and accountable aid is a significant challenge, but they are also the environments where needs are greatest.
The global development landscape is changing fast. In 2015, a new global development agenda was launched through the Global Goals, alongside international commitments on development finance and climate change. In the UK, the government has set out a strategy for UK aid for the next five years.
1. Purpose and rationale
The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has published its Annual Report 2014-15.
The follow-up work undertaken for this report covers 22 of the 35 reports published during ICAI’s first three years. We assess how DFID has responded to our recommendations.
A key component of ICAI’s mandate is to follow up on its recommendations and to assess the progress made by the Department For International Development (DFID) and other government departments on the issues identified by our reports.
DFID depends greatly on the multilateral system to achieve results. Multilateral agencies are able to deliver aid on a large scale and have widespread legitimacy to lead and co-ordinate development and humanitarian assistance. DFID is well respected as a funder and has significant influence in the multilateral system. In 2013-14 DFID spent almost two-thirds (£6.32 billion) of its budget through multilateral agencies and many agencies depend on DFID as their largest funder.
UK aid, at its best, makes a real and positive difference to the lives and livelihoods of poor people around the world. Ensuring the best possible performance across a large and multifaceted aid programme is, however, a complex management challenge. This report reviews ICAI’s previous 44 reports and looks at how well DFID ensures positive, long-term, transformative change across its work.