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New Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office opens its doors

In early September 2020, the new UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO) is due to open its doors, officially bringing an end to 23 years of the dedicated UK Department for International Development.

Despite repeated assurances from the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary that the new FCDO is a merger not a takeover, keeping poverty reduction as central to its mission, the senior appointments for the new department could tell a different story.

Following the announcement of the new interim leadership team, response has been mixed, with some critics suggesting the lack of balance between development and diplomatic experience could signal a hostile takeover by the FCO.

While the lack of balance between the two departments at this senior level is disappointing, it is nonetheless much more important that the actions of the new department ensure that development does not take a back seat to diplomatic and commercial interests.

In July, the Alliance published a briefing that sets out 4 key commitments  necessary in order for the new department to build on the UK’s world leading reputation in aid and development.

The four commitments are:

  1. Commitment to poverty eradication and aid effectiveness
  2. Commitment to accountability, transparency and scrutiny
  3. Commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
  4. Commitment to safeguarding DFID’s expertise

Read the full briefing here.

The briefing was co-written and agreed by the Alliance Policy Committee and other members including: Christian Aid Scotland, HALO Trust, IDEAS, IIED, Oxfam Scotland, SCIAF, Tearfund Scotland, Carey Tourism, The Scotland Malawi Partnership, WaterAid, Water Witness International and Thrive.

Following the publication of this briefing, the Alliance wrote to the Prime Minister along with 127 others calling for him to pledge to these four commitments. At the start of August the Foreign Secretary wrote back on behalf of the prime minister committing their Government to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the pledge to Leave No One Behind.

Let’s make sure we hold them to that.

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