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International Development Act 2002

Section 1

16.This section allows the Secretary of State to provide development assistance to countries and territories outside the United Kingdom if she is satisfied that such assistance is likely to contribute to a reduction in poverty. Reduction in poverty is thus established as the over-arching aim of development assistance given under section 1.

17.It is anticipated that the largest proportion of assistance given by the Secretary of State under the Act will be under the powers conferred by this section. In this sense, section 1 may be regarded as the core power of the Act.

18.The terms “poverty”, “sustainable development” and “welfare” are not defined in the Act. To do so might reduce the United Kingdom’s ability to offer assistance. Subsection (3) of section 1 ensures that the Secretary of State will not be bound to take a view of sustainable development that is exclusively or excessively economic on the one hand or exclusively or excessively environmental on the other.

19.Poverty is a complex phenomenon and the actions required to reduce it will necessarily be varied. The power in section 1 is designed to ensure that the Secretary of State will be able to support a wide range of activities and organisations.

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