Better monitoring of aid impact called for by watchdog

Aid watchdogs have called on the Department for International Development (DfID) to ensure the results of its investments in disaster resilience efforts are monitored more rigorously.

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI)  said the work, which focuses on reducing people's exposure to natural hazards and improving their ability to cope with and recover from shocks, is essential, but needs to be better assessed.

The report praised DfID's efforts, but said there was a risk that progress may not be sustained.

The ICAI warned the department was "failing to routinely gather, synthesise and communicate its growing knowledge base on resilience" and that it should "do more to make sure that results measurement and learning is improved".

ICAI commissioner Richard Gledhill said: "DfID's work has helped to strengthen communities' resilience to these disasters, and it has been successful at mainstreaming a focus on resilience to all its work.

"DfID's good progress could be improved by more rigorously monitoring the results of resilience investments. And with the mainstreaming process now over DfID must make sure its work does not slip backwards."

The ICAI report made a number of recommendations, including a "portfolio" approach setting out how work in different sectors would build resilience.

DfID should develop its guidance on how to measure resilience results, and undertake a stock take of its work in high-risk countries, the study found.

The ICAI stated: "In particular, the review found that DfID's humanitarian, environmental and climate related programmes were consistently contributing to reducing vulnerability and strengthening resilience.

"However, in the countries sampled, performance was more variable in other sectors, such as health, education, infrastructure and governance, where resilience to natural disasters was not an explicit objective.

"The majority of these programmes were likely to build resilience, but attention to reporting was found to be less consistent."

A DfID spokesperson said: "ICAI rightly recognises the practical ways DfID's work is helping save lives in the world's poorest countries where people are too often most at risk from extreme climates and natural disasters.

"From long-term solutions for communities ravaged by cyclones in Bangladesh, to programmes rehabilitating farmland that have helped avert famine in Ethiopia, UK aid is undertaking crucial work to build resilience and create a more stable and prosperous world for us all."

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