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evidence based policy-making: the ilo loses out March 2, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : transparency , trackback

According to Andrew Mitchell, the ILO is either “performing poorly” or has not demonstrated its “relevance to Britain’s development objectives”:

the review found that four agencies performed poorly or failed to demonstrate relevance to Britain’s development objectives. The review therefore concluded that it is no longer acceptable for taxpayers’ money from my Department to continue to fund them centrally. I can therefore tell the House today that the British Government will withdraw their membership of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, and that DFID will stop voluntary core funding to UN-Habitat, the International Labour Organisation and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. That will allow more than £50 million of taxpayers’ money to be redirected immediately to better performing agencies. We are working closely with other countries to build a coalition for ambitious reform and improvement of all multilateral agencies.

Denis McShane criticises the decision in the New Statesman. But how can he complain, after all, the decision is an example of evidence-based policy-making:

These reviews have been thorough, rigorous, evidence-based and scrutinised by independent development experts.

Looking at the Multilateral Aid Review, UNESCO, which is not being defunded, scored even lower on the value for money index and on the contribution to UK objectives than did the ILO. But, despite this, UNESCO will continue to receive funding whereas the ILO will not. The UK will demand that UNESCO improve its performance.

Here’s the bottom line on the ILO from the report:

The ILO is making progress on gender issues and there is some evidence of good partnership behaviour. It has limited impact on UK and international poverty objectives and needs to reform its field structure to improve delivery. It also needs to improve its results reporting, transparency and cost effectiveness.

And on UNESCO:

UNESCO has high quality expertise in many areas important for development and produces useful reports and data for policy making in education. It has made some progress reducing administration costs. It needs to continue improving cost consciousness, and make a sustained effort on management for results, streamlining its strategic focus and on transparency.

So a 200 plus page report concludes that one agency which will continue to receive funds performs less well and responds less well to UK development priorities than another, which is to be defunded, and this is an example of transparent and evidence-based policy-making?


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