Today, 16th May 2022, the FCDO has published an International Development Strategy (1), which outlines a new direction for the FCDO’s priorities.
Responding, Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of The ONE Campaign, said:
“While we welcome some aspects of today’s strategy, there is a real danger that this strategy is all mouth and no trousers. For example, we welcome the decision to put women and girls at the heart of our development goals – but the Foreign Secretary has decided to cut spending on education, including for girls, by 50%.
“There is also a risk that this strategy misses the critical moment we are currently in. The whole world faces an unprecedented set of converging crises – as COVID, conflict and climate, and their economic aftershocks threaten our security and hopes of a more prosperous future. It is therefore alarming to see the UK reducing support for the very multilateral institutions needed to respond to these shared threats. These are key to the delivery of an effective global response to COVID-19, and to tackling other increasingly shared threats such as food insecurity and the impact of climate change. They deliver strong value for money, leverage our influence, and reach the poorest and hardest to reach (3).
“And we have sincere concerns about a strategy that disproportionately prioritises aid for trade over tackling the converging crises risks. While there is a link between trade and development, this approach will fail unless we address the immediate crises that threaten to wreak havoc on the world’s most vulnerable people.
“Above all, this strategy will only be successful if it is matched by real investment and political will. The strategy commits the UK to investing to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic – yet we have shown up to the last three global Covid summits empty handed (4). It purports to sustain our commitment to Africa – yet African countries have borne the brunt of the aid cuts. This strategy will only be meaningful if the FCDO puts its money where its mouth is.”
Notes to Editors:
- The full International Development Strategy can be found here. The IDS has indicated it will focus on Women and Girls, Humanitarian Aid, and Economic Development, Climate Change, Nature, and Global Health, centred around an ‘aid for trade’ strategy while shifting away from multilateral aid organisations.
- In 2020 UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that the UK will no longer be spending 0.7% of GNI on official development assistance, and reduced this spending to 0.5% GNI until the government borrowing reduces and debt is falling – which is expected to be 2024/25 at the earliest.
- Multilateral organisations are able to deliver programs in hard-to-reach areas where the UK does not have a significant presence – as shown within the government’s own review.
- Last week the UK for the third time failed to pledge any new money during the COVID-19 Summit, and so far in 2022, the UK has pledged a mere 5% of what Germany has pledged for the global Covid-19 response.