Farewell message from Graham Ward CBE

30 Jun 2015

Photo of Graham WardAs I step down after four years as Chief Commissioner of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, I offer my thanks and good wishes to my fellow Commissioners, Diana Good, Mark Foster and John Githongo; and to our staff and contractors, who have worked tirelessly to deliver 46 reports.

We have looked into many different aspects of the UK aid programme: by sector, theme, country and delivery channel. We have explored the quality of design and delivery of UK aid projects and their impact on the intended beneficiaries. We have explored the linkages between DFID’s capacity as an organisation and its ability to deliver valuable, sustainable and consistent results to help to improve the lives of the poor.

We have seen many examples of well-conceived projects that are delivering real benefits to men, women and children in poor communities around the world. We have been impressed by the dedication of DFID staff, often working in difficult and dangerous environments. We have also observed how challenging it can be to maintain a consistently high standard of delivery across such a large and complex aid programme.

As we have conducted our work in the field and in the headquarters of other international aid players, we have consistently heard about the positive view that this sector has of the work of DFID and of the UK.  DFID is seen as thoughtful, influential and engaged and often leads collaborative activities on the ground.

DFID faces a number of challenges in the coming years. For example, it is prioritising two complex areas that must be tackled to achieve sustainable long-term poverty reduction: fragile states and economic development. In fragile states, achieving impact for intended beneficiaries can take a generation or more, with earlier phases of aid programmes needing to put in place the building blocks for later transformation. This can involve combining direct benefits for people living in extreme poverty with promoting the policies and institutions needed to scale up these benefits. On economic development, DFID has an ambitious strategy to help countries to exit from poverty through inclusive and sustainable growth, which requires multiple reinforcing interventions at different levels in order to succeed.

The publication of the Sustainable Development Goals later this year and the UK having legislated for 0.7% of GNI to be spent on Official Development Assistance mean that our role in contributing to the improvement of the impact and value for money of UK aid grows ever more important.

In Dr Alison Evans, I have a successor who is already well respected and widely experienced and to whom I pass the baton with confidence. I wish her and the new commissioner team the very best for the future.

Graham Ward CBE

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