In May 1997 New Labour was elected into government in the UK and established the Department for International Development (DFID), distinct from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). DFID published its White Paper, Eliminating World Poverty: a Challenge for the 21st Century, in November the same year. The White Paper defined policy on the International Development Targets agreed by members of the United Nations in 1990, ‘to halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.’ ‘It is first, and most importantly, about the single greatest challenge which the world faces—eliminating poverty. It is about ensuring that the poorest people in the world benefit as we move towards a new global society’ (DFID, 1997b: 5). What evidence suggests that the objectives, founded on humanitarian principles and human rights, guide DFID’s allocation of assistance?
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