The UK is obliged under the UN Charter to promote the well-being of the inhabitants of the Overseas Territories (OTs). The International Development Act 2002 exempts the territories from the poverty criteria that apply to the rest of the aid budget. Successive White Papers on international development, including those produced since 1997, have committed the British Government to meeting the “reasonable needs” of the OTs as a first call on the aid budget.
The Department for International Development provides development aid to Pitcairn Island to meet its citizens' reasonable needs, ensuring maintenance of a range of basic public services (e.g. electricity, telecommunications) and provision of part-time public sector employment. Budget aid is also used to provide medical and educational services, as well as a shipping service that provides a necessary life-line in terms of freight and passenger services.