Template petition to your Minister for International Development

Use this template petition to write to your country’s Minister for International Development to ask them to stop privatising aid.

Protect aid spending to eradicate global inequalities, not boost profits for businesses

Dear [add name of your Minister for International Development or another government target],

A damaging narrative is emerging among our political leaders that seeks to use the country’s aid budget as a means to boost the profits of private companies. This narrative promotes “redefining” what is meant by aid in order to allow our businesses to profit from Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). In the time of a global pandemic, free access to health services for the poorest in the world is even more crucial.

Despite the backlash faced by public-private partnerships for increasing inequality and reducing quality, [add name of your government department responsible for aid spending] has continued to promote private sector financing as a primary means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the global south. It is clear that public-private partnerships (PPPs) have failed in Europe, so why does our Government want to export this same model across the world and call it “aid”?

The impact of private financing

The recent history of privately financed projects across the world has shown us that when private companies are involved in the construction and delivery of public services (through PPPs and other arrangements), access to healthcare, education and sanitation by the poorest and most marginalised in a society is restricted and inequalities tend to increase.

This type of financing has been shown to often result in:

  • High levels of debt that consume huge proportions of the budgets of low-income countries.
  • The diversion of government funding from public healthcare and education.
  • Dangerous cuts to the budgets and resources of schools and hospitals.
  • Extortionate user fees and tariffs that restrict access for the poorest and most marginalised.
  • Poorer conditions and a loss of rights for workers.
  • Corruption, a lack of transparency and a lack of accountability in service delivery.
  • Environmental damage caused by deforestation, pollution, reduction in biodiversity and through contributing to climate change.
  • The displacement of indigenous populations.
  • Threats to women’s rights and gender equality due to the disproportionate impact of user fees and tariffs on women.
  • The profit-oriented objectives of private companies are simply at odds with our understanding of essential, public services as free and universal.

With more than 780 million people still living below the international poverty line, and progress on the SDGs still hugely uneven between women and men, urban and rural communities and within and between different regions, we need urgent action that accelerates – rather than impedes – progress towards the SDGs.

What are we calling for?

We are calling for effective overseas aid spending that is driven by the needs of the world’s poorest, not used to guarantee a profit for bosses and shareholders here.

The country’s international development programmes must focus on supporting nations in the global south to build free, universal and high-quality public services, as a means of eradicating poverty and inequality.

We call on you to commit to the following:

  • to continue your public support for the 0.7% aid target and to take action to safeguard this spending commitment; [check whether your country has committed to this]
  • to protect international development projects from further corporate capture, and resist the linking of “national interest” or a “financial return for the UK” to the international development agenda;
  • to halt the excessive use of PPPs and the multilateral organisations previously supported by [add name of the relevant government department], publicly recognise the risks of PPPs for inequality and support states’ public financing of essential public services;
  • to ensure all financing options are considered on equal footing with a robust cost-benefit analysis based on fiscal and human rights impact assessments before supporting PPPs;
  • to explore alternative approaches to maximise the impact of the government’s aid spending to benefit the world’s poorest and most marginalised, for example, by instead promoting public-public partnerships, which have successfully used the knowledge from countries with established public service systems to build capacity in other countries.