Department for International Development

About us

Good evidence is based on well designed and rigorous research. To improve the impact of what we spend on development we need to have good evidence of what works, so that we use the most effective tools for reducing poverty and its effects.

DFID has a strong commitment to commissioning world class research and ensuring that the resulting evidence is available and useful to practitioners and policy makers worldwide.


We are responsible for:

  • honouring the UK’s international commitments and taking action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
  • making British aid more effective by improving transparency, openness and value for money
  • targeting British international development policy on economic growth and wealth creation
  • improving the coherence and performance of British international development policy in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  • improving the lives of girls and women through better education and a greater choice on family planning
  • preventing violence against girls and women in the developing world
  • helping to prevent climate change and encouraging adaptation and low-carbon growth in developing countries



By 2015 we will:

  • help 9 million children in primary school, at least half of which will be girls
  • help 2 million children in lower secondary school
  • train more than 190,000 teachers and improve the quality of education and children’s learning


By 2015 we will:

  • help immunise more than 55 million children against preventable diseases
  • save the lives of at least 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth and 250,000 newborn babies
  • help at least 10 million more women to use modern methods of family planning by 2015
  • help halve malaria deaths in 10 of the worst affected countries

Economic growth and the private sector

By 2015 we will:

  • provide more than 50 million people with the means to help work their way out of poverty
  • help up to half of the countries in Africa benefit from freer trade
  • secure the right to land and property for more than 6 million people

Governance and conflict

To make countries safer and fairer we will:

  • devote 30% of our aid to war-torn and unstable countries by 2014
  • support freer and fairer elections in 13 countries
  • help 10 million women to access justice through the courts, police and legal assistance
  • help 40 million people to hold authorities to account

Climate and environment

Our 4 main areas of focus are:

  • helping the poorest people adapt to the effects of climate change on their lives and livelihoods
  • helping poor countries develop in ways that avoid or reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and enabling millions of people to benefit from clean energy
  • protecting the world’s forests and the livelihoods of the 1.2 billion people who depend on them
  • encouraging global action on climate change

Water and sanitation

By 2015 we will:

  • reach 60 million people with access to water, sanitation and/or hygiene

Specific actions on climate change


52de8ec3f3599economics-of-adaptation - climate adaptation.

Economics of adaptation

Assessing the costs of adaptation using multiple lines of evidence.

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Embedded Researchers

An Embedded Researcher approach to integrate climate information into decision making in southern African cities

The overall aim of the FRACTAL Embedded Researcher project is to adapt southern African cities to function better and more equitably within both the present and the future climate.

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cover image of the booklet

Climate change, migration and adaptation in deltas

Summary of key findings from the Deltas, Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA) project which ran 2014-2018 and focused on African and Asian deltas.

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heat map hindu kush

Mapping the stories of climate change

This article shows how the online platform Story Maps communicates climate change impacts and relevant adaptation measures in the Hindu Kush Himalaya to a wider audience to support action.

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Mamadou Ndiaye, délégué de quartier of Bene Baraque sitting on a design bench. Benches made from recycled materials are arranged around the basins to improve the living environment of the neighbouring districts. Credit: Consortium pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (CRES).

Community-based Action against Flood Risks in Dakar

Community-based action against Flood Risks in Dakar

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Climate Risk and Vulnerability: A Handbook for Southern Africa (2nd Edition)

An updated version of the popular handbook outlining projected climate change, sectoral impacts and responses (adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and accessing climate finance) in southern Africa

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cdkn gender india - climate adaptation.

Gender approaches in climate compatible development: Lessons from India

This policy brief explores the advantages and challenges of integrating a gender dimension into climate compatible development strategies in urban settings, in India.

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