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UK Government publishes Integrated Review

Today 16 March, the UK Government has published its Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy

The 100-page document addresses national security, foreign policy and its approach to the global economy together, setting out the PM’s vision for the UK in 2030 and how they will use the full range of UK international policy to achieve it.

It comes during a crucial year for the UK’s international leadership, as The UK holds the Presidency of the G7 and prepares to host the COP26 Summit.

Comment has been mixed following the announcement, with many organisations, including our colleagues at Bond, expressing concern over the suggestion that there will be departure from ODA going to those who need it most; especially against the back drop of the reduction in ODA spend already announced. (Read the Bond response here)

Alliance member HALO Trust, put out a statement from their CEO James Cowan welcoming the announcement, but also expressed concerns about shifts in georgaphical emphasis and a lack of detail in how integration of the UK’s international engagement will work. (Read the HALO repsonse here)

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK was more damning of the review, saying that actions leading up to its publication – the creation of the FCDO and the cuts to spending – had already confirmed the UK Government’s intentions to “surrender the UK’s position as a development superpower”. (Read the Save response here)

The International Development Committee Chair, Sarah Champion MP, said:

“The Integrated Review is laden with contradictions. The Government explains that Africa will increasingly be left behind, that with a growing population Africa will be hit hardest with the impacts of climate change, poverty and conflict. Yet the UK’s international priorities are gearing towards the Indo-Pacific with presumably less development spend going to Africa. Setting a commitment to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is admirable, but excluding extreme poverty as a strategic objective for aid is bizarre.

“Delay after delay with the publication of the Integrated Review should have afforded the Government more time to consult stakeholders. The changes to the development sector last year – the merging of DFID and the FCO, the drastic aid cuts – should have been properly explored within the scope of the Integrated Review rather than rushed through. We cannot forget that these severe cuts are against a backdrop of increasing levels of violence, hospitals at breaking point, inequality and gender-based violence rising in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“With little more than a passing mention of development, the Integrated Review has done little to alleviate fears that this is the beginning of the end for the UK’s development superpower status. The Integrated Review appears to be more centred towards rubbing shoulders with trading partners than creating a level playing field for the global community to prosper.”

What are your views? Get in touch by email to let us know or, if you are an Alliance member, start a conversation on the Alliance Community.

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