Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the Department for International Development (DFID) will be merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from September 2020. At RESULTS, we firmly believe that this decision is wrong and will diminish the UK’s ability to fight global poverty, and to focus UK aid on those who need it the most. The Prime Minister’s stated aim of bringing together the UK’s foreign policy objectives and international development spending will inevitably reduce the focus of UK aid on poverty reduction and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and bring in other ‘national interest’ objectives such as defence and security.
With many countries still reeling from the immediate effects of COVID-19 and facing longer-term economic downturns, now is a crucial the time to continue investing in aid progammes that supports the world’s most marginalised people.
The purpose of international aid is to help the poorest and most marginalised people, and it is part of our country’s moral responsibility to contribute to a fairer world. Now is a crucial moment to fight to ensure that the UK’s aid spending remains in the interest of people living in poverty. This will require a redoubled focus on poverty reduction, Cabinet-level political responsibility for all aid spending across Government, and effective parliamentary arrangements to scrutinise all aid spending, or else we risk diluting the quality and effectiveness of UK aid.
At this moment, political will is urgently needed. This month, please write to your MP, explaining why you support the UK’s international development efforts, and why we need to see the structures in Government and Parliament to keep UK aid effective, transparent, and true to the goal of poverty reduction.