Letter published in The Times on 14 January 2010
Sir, Your leading article (“In development”, Jan 13) questions the connection between the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on development aid and the realities faced by the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. Whether the money is well spent will not depend on how much is committed but on what it is used for and how.
Tens of millions of the world’s poorest are vulnerable to armed conflict. High risk of violent conflict is also linked to the burden of autocratic, corrupt and inefficient governance.
These linkages have been often overlooked, with the success of development policy judged by the amount of money spent or kilometres of road built. To different degrees, the three main political parties have now come up with some new ideas on the links between peace, governance and development.
We badly need to move this welcome, more nuanced, emerging approach into action. Only as people become more secure can development aid really start to alleviate poverty.
Secretary General, International Alert