Andrew Mitchell: 'Monitoring how aid is spent is as important as the amount we give'

As world leaders prepare for a summit on global poverty, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell meets Nigel Morris

Britain and the United States are to spearhead a renewed attempt to meet stalled poverty-reduction targets in the developing world, asking rich countries to stand by financial pledges made a decade ago and demanding that nations given aid do more to ensure they are not wasting it.

Ministers from governments across the world will meet at a United Nations summit in New York on Monday to discuss efforts to tackle hunger, education and disease in poor nations as part of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed in 2000.

In an interview with The Independent, Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, warned progress towards the MDGs, which the G8 group of the world's most powerful nations committed to achieving by 2015, had been blown off course.

He said Britain would be "focusing above all on results", lobbying for a stricter system of measuring how wisely poor countries were spending aid.

"We've had the first 10 years and many of these goals are miles off track," he said. "The focus of the summit meeting must be to ensure that everyone is engaged in trying to reach these goals in the next five years. What is most compelling, particularly at a time when money is scarce, is sweating all the money we can get together."

Mr Mitchell said Britain and the US had hatched a plan to deliver faster progress over the next five years and ensure funds handed to developing countries are not wasted. The two nations will use the summit to outline a new annual review that will test which nation has been the most successful in tackling each of the eight MDGs. Countries failing to show improvements would then be asked to follow the example of others.

"Ensuring that we use top examples to disseminate good practice to every country will give extra propulsion to reach these MDGs," he said. "We want to ensure that we grip the issues that are at stake."

The Overseas Development Institute in Britain, and the Centre for Global Development, Washington, will devise a test used to judge the performance of nations receiving aid.

Britain will also announce two new programmes to tackle malaria in Africa at the summit. In partnership with the US and the Gates Foundation, Britain will contribute to another major project to give 100 million more women access to family-planning facilities by 2015.

"We think it is outrageous that 73 per cent of women in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to contraception," Mr Mitchell said. "That is incredibly important. On malaria, one programme will save 5,500 lives of children in Zambia by increasing access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment. And in Ghana, we will finance 2.4 million new bed nets, which should save 13,000 lives a year."

Mr Mitchell also defended attempts by the Government to ensure aid was only spent in Britain's national interest. An internal memo, leaked last month, suggested aid money may be redirected to defence and anti-terrorism projects by ensuring the spending made "the maximum possible contribution to national security". Aid groups reacted angrily to the memo.

But Mr Mitchell rejected "any suggestion at all" that money was being siphoned off for defence. "This is the product of unnecessary paranoia," he said. "All of Britain's aid is spent in Britain's national interests, and some of it contributes to Britain's national security as well. The answer is to get the balance right.

"It is conflict overall that mires people in poverty. That is the first law of development. Aid works, but the focus has to be on the results – on the outputs and the outcomes, so that we can demonstrate that we're really delivering those results."

He also said that a move to more results-based spending would help convince a sceptical public that increasing the aid budget in a time of economic difficulty was justified. "When people are told the results, they can see that it is morally right, and in Britain's national interest to do these things," he said.

"By the middle of next year, we will express Britain's offer of support and help to the developing world in a results-based framework that I believe will make every Britain proud of the way that the country is contributing to development around the world, in the same way we feel proud of the contribution our armed forces make to peace and security."

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher

£36000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Experienced SEN Teacher n...

Volunteer Mentor for people who have offended

This is an unpaid volunteer role. : Belong: We are looking for volunteers who ...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Experienced TA's urgently...

Business StudiesTeacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Supply Business Studies Teacher...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?