We are deeply concerned by the decision to abolish an independent DFID. In this time of a worldwide pandemic, the expertise of DFID is needed more than ever to support communities that need it most.
The UK government’s decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is a backward step in delivering the best possible aid to communities in countries that benefit from the work of DFID, not just in the wake of COVID-19 but with the many development challenges that they face. Not only may the merger put millions of lives at risk, but it is a potential knock back for the thousands of young people who have been supported by DFID to be leaders of change working to create an empowered and sustainable world.
DFID has the reputation as one of the most successful aid departments in the world. We support Bond – the UK network for international development organisations – in their call out to the British government for a number of key principles to be followed so that the UK remains a respected world leader in international development. They ask that the UK government keep:
- The UK’s legal obligation to meet the 0.7% GNI target in a way that focuses aid on poverty alleviation and sustainable development
- Adherence to the internationally agreed rules and standards governing ODA spending and implementation
- The UK’s commitment to leave no one behind, reach the most vulnerable in the world’s poorest places first, and to spend half of all aid in fragile and conflict affected states.
- A clear focus of aid spend to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and be aligned with the Paris Agreement, contributing to efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C
- Effective programmes that can demonstrate a positive impact on the lives of the people who need it the most, administered by people experienced in development and working directly with local communities
- A minister with a seat in Cabinet and on the National Security Council able to provide development perspectives to a whole government approach.
- All UK Aid being fully accountable and transparent through parliamentary and independent scrutiny, with its own select committee and a bolstered Independent Commission for Aid Impact, so government and parliament can ensure that our vital aid budget is accountable not just to those we aim to help, but also to the British taxpayer.
We dare to remain hopeful that the high standards for international development set by DFID will be upheld so together we can end poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.