Tied aid and development: Pergau Dam
High court victory over the Pergau Dam
The UK government planned to spend £234 million of aid money on the Pergau Dam project in Malaysia. WDM believed that the benefits of the dam were dubious, and that the finance was essentially a sweetener to encourage future arms purchases from UK companies. Since the 1980 Overseas Development and Co-operation Act stated that aid can only be used for “promoting the development or maintaining the economy of a country….or the welfare of its people”, WDM was able to pursue a judicial review of the funding of the dam. It was a landmark case which ensured that future aid couldn’t be used as a political tool regardless of the development benefits or lack of them.
In 2012, we returned to campaigning to stop big business cashing in on aid.
Linking aid with arms
WDM exposed the linking of aid and arms in other countries, including Indonesia. In response the National Audit Office (NAO), the government’s own watchdog, conducted an inquiry into seven controversial British-funded aid projects. WDM also highlighted the misuse of aid to sell Westland helicopters to India.
For further current information on this issue contact:
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) http://www.caat.org.uk
For the official view/figures, and the 2015 development targets contact:
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) http://www.oecd.org/dac
- Department for International Development (DfID) http://www.dfid.gov.uk