All We Can urges the government to rethink its decision to merge DFID with the FCO

A woman wearing a blue jacket and colourful headscarf walks through a field of wheat. Her back is turned to the camera.


All We Can, as well as other NGOs and development agencies, have criticised the government’s decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, calling it an ‘ill thought through decision, at a time when the world’s poorest communities are most vulnerable.’

Graeme Hodge, All We Can’s Chief Executive, said ‘Yesterday’s decision to merge DFID with the FCO places already vulnerable communities in considerable jeopardy, as we risk seeing the good work undertaken by DFID over the last few decades potentially eroded in favour of political gain. Alongside our friends and colleagues in the Bond network, we condemn this ill thought through decision at a time when the world’s poorest communities are most vulnerable. As the communities which we serve are reckoning with significant development setbacks caused by coronavirus, this move represents a major step in the wrong direction, and threatens to exacerbate an already precarious situation.’

‘We call upon the government to rethink this decision, and ensure that DFID remains an independent body. In recent years, an independent DFID has been shown to be effective and has become the global leader in the sector. We believe it is the best way to show that the UK can help tackle coronavirus, as well as other global crises. Importantly, an independent DFID also protects aid money from being tied to a political agenda – enabling it to serve the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised, ahead of the government’s.’

Dr Louise Brooke-Smith OBE, All We Can’s Chair of Trustees, added ‘While we note the government’s stance to retain a target of 0.7% GDP as the benchmark for international aid, clearly in a post Covid-19 era and economic downturn, this will result in reduced funds being available to support communities around the world most in need. It will therefore be even more important that all aid is expertly allocated and managed, without being tied to any political dogma. There has been significant criticism of the merger, but in any event, it will be vital not to lose DFIDs expertise and retain a transparent approach going forward. In this way, both the global communities assisted, and UK taxpayers will be assured that the very best was being achieved. Furthermore, the role of the NGO sector, working proactively with government, will continue to be vital to ensure that those in need can be supported in the most appropriate way and the UK’s strong reputation, integrity and effectiveness in this field is maintained.’

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