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Blue Planet Fund

Evaluation Review

Independent Commission for Aid Impact

A review examining the £500 million Blue Planet Fund, designed to help developing nations to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty.

This rapid review found that the delivery of the UK government’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund, which aims to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty, has been affected by a lack of adequate cross-Whitehall coordination and oversight.

Assessing the Fund’s performance so far, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) noted a lack of coordination and coherence between Defra – the Blue Planet Fund’s strategic lead – and FCDO, with duplicated work in some areas and gaps in delivery. 

Oversight was also found to be lacking, with some management processes still under development two and a half years after the Fund’s launch. Defra’s management of some of its delivery partners has been weak, and particularly so in the case of its arm’s-length bodies. ICAI noted that these organisations charged high overheads, ranging from 15% to 37% – higher than the norm for the delivery of aid-funded activities.  

The government was seeking to address some of the problems flagged in ICAI’s report with the appointment of five new regional coordinators and the drafting of country plans to better take account of partner countries’ own priorities and needs. However, the watchdog questioned the impact of these improvements with more than 90% of the Fund already allocated. 

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