THE Government body responsible for the provision of overseas development funding and emergency aid is set to undergo a significant transition during 2013.
The Overseas Aid Committee of the Council of Ministers is changing its name to reflect a shift in emphasis in how the Isle of Man supports the world’s less developed nations.
Part of the focus for the rebranded International Development Committee will be to establish long-term partnership agreements to assist countries ranked as ‘low’ on the UN Human Development Index.
This will include funding for education, training and capacity building programmes and providing access to the Isle of Man’s technical expertise in key areas such as finance and fisheries.
The new approach, which will sit alongside the Committee’s existing funding streams, will strengthen our ability to help those in poverty become more self-sufficient and less dependent on foreign aid.
Phil Gawne MHK, Chairman of the International Development Committee, said: ‘The Isle of Man remains fully committed to playing its part in efforts to create a more sustainable future for all the world’s citizens. Funding from the Isle of Man is continuing to make a genuine difference to people’s lives and also reinforces our reputation as an internationally responsible country. By channelling some of our resources into long-term partnership agreements I believe we can make our contributions work harder.’
‘One project we are looking to support is a sustainable fisheries management programme in Sierra Leone, in conjunction with other major stakeholders such as the World Bank. The Isle of Man already has strong links with this country and last year gifted a fisheries protection vessel to the Sierra Leonean authorities. A great deal of work still needs to be done before this initiative can be taken forward, but there is an opportunity to enhance our support through the provision of technical assistance, personnel and training.’
Commenting on the change of name to the International Development Committee, Mr Gawne added: ‘This is in keeping with the terminology of modern aid organisations such as the UK’s Department for International Development and the US Agency for International Development and better reflects the work we do.’
The Isle of Man’s International Development Committee is responsible for a budget of £2.4million which is currently used to fund small grants, multi-year projects and donations to disaster and emergency appeals in the world’s developing countries.
Programmes supported by the Committee must seek to address the Millennium Development Goals which are to –
• Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
• Achieve universal primary education
• Promote gender equality and empower women
• Reduce child mortality
• Improve maternal health
• Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
• Ensure environmental sustainability
• Develop a global partnership for development
As part of its change of focus, the International Development Committee will no longer provide traditional financial aid to India.
This reflects India’s increasing wealth and progression to become a key player in the global economy, although it does not preclude supporting emergency or disaster relief.