UK failed to put aid recipients first, Mordaunt admits

28 Feb 18

Recent revelations about sexual exploitation in aid contexts was caused by Britain’s failure in its duty to put the beneficiaries first, the UK international development secretary has said.

Speaking at a charity conference in London, Penny Mordaunt said the British aid sector had been “failing for some time” and the Oxfam scandal should be used as a “wake-up call” for aid organisations to deliver on their promises to the world’s poor.

She said at the Bond conference on 26 February: “The facts speak for themselves – and the many we are letting down.

“If we want those facts to change we have to change what we do. To deliver on the promises we’ve made to the world’s poorest, business as usual isn’t going to cut it.”

The aid sector has been in the spotlight following the uncovering of how aid organisations, including Oxfam, Save the Children and the United Nations mishandled allegations of sexual misconduct.

Oxfam’s work in Haiti has been temporarily suspended and it will not bid for any government funding while investigations and reforms are pending.

Mordaunt said that, in order to recover, the aid sector must put beneficiaries first. “Let this moment not just be a wake-up call to improve safeguarding. Let it also be a wake-up call that we must be, if we are to deliver on our promise to the world’s poor,” she said.

She announced that DfID would “shortly” bring forward a new development offer focused on delivering the Global Goals to leave no one behind. This includes ensuring that by 2030 every child will have the chance of a decent education.

The international development secretary said the new offer would require the sector and DfID to change where they work, who they work with and ensure “greater cooperation” the department and the UK’s armed forces.

It will also make greater use on the private sector, require improved transparency and cooperation, and make the UK aid sector work more effectively.


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