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Scarce aid spending ‘wasted’ in poor planning, oversight and high fees in Blue Planet Fund

30 November 2023

Chair of the International Development comments on the Independent Commission for Aid Impact’s (ICAI) review of the performance of the Government’s Blue Planet Fund, published today.

Chair's comment

The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said:

“The UK Government urgently needs to demonstrate consistency and leadership in policies and spending intended to address climate change, the costs of which threaten to outstrip growth and development in many parts of the world. Unfortunately the £500 million Blue Planet Fund looks like more of the usual rushed, ill-thought-out, announcement-led spending that cannot and does not achieve what it should.

“Instead of developing and investing in a country needs-focused portfolio, existing Defra projects were cobbled into the Fund to get the money out the door - long before the structures were in place to strategically deploy, manage or oversee the Fund. The fees charged by some of Defra’s delivery partners, including Government’s own arms-length bodies, would make a hedge fund blush and raise serious questions about value for money.

“Our recommendation that the UK’s development finance agency, British International Investment, must ensure that half of its investment goes to the lowest income countries was incorporated in the recent FCDO White Paper. Poverty reduction is a requirement for all UK aid spending and it should go without saying that the Fund must ensure that poverty reduction is the primary focus of its programming.

“In the grand scheme of things, and certainly in relation to the scale of the challenge, the Blue Planet Fund is not a large pot of money - but it could and should have achieved far more for the taxpayers’ money invested than it is destined to. The Government must ensure that the necessary planning, oversight and accountability will be put in place before any more scarce ODA funding is wasted like this.”

Image: Pixabay