Is the UK government planning to effectively abandon the “development” part of the FCDO?
Drastic UK cuts to foreign aid will cost lives, more than 200 NGOs have warned.
Cash given to healthcare, conflict prevention and climate crisis projects could be slashed as part of a restructuring of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Following the dismantling of the Department for International Development, charities are warning that the Tories are now planning to effectively abandon the “development” part of the FCDO.
The cuts could come as part of a departmental re-jig and review which was ordered by foreign secretary Liz Truss (pictured).
Leaders of hundreds of NGOs have written an open letter to her spelling out the consequences of more cuts, which would come on top of £4 billion a year already confirmed.
The letter, co-ordinated by aid group network Bond, states: “It would be short-sighted to drop critical issues like global health, climate change and conflict prevention from the forthcoming international development strategy. It would also cost lives.
“This move will undermine the UK’s ability to play our part globally in tackling urgent challenges, increasing security, and eradicating poverty. Supporting countries in times of crisis is critically important, but so too is investing in the development assistance that prevents these crises.”
Responding to the Ukraine crisis should not mean funding is diverted from elsewhere, the letter read. The war highlighted the importance of a development strategy that is “poverty-focused, evidence and rights-based, and accountable to the British public and communities it is meant to serve”.
The review was supposed to be published next Monday but has been delayed to mid-April.
This week, the UK’s parliament’s international development committee was told by NGOs that the government’s aid cuts during the pandemic - a manifesto pledge-shredding reduction of overseas aid spend from 0.7% of national income to 0.5% - had hit women and girls worst.
Committee chair Sarah Champion said: “It’s very clear there’s been a lack of transparency, a lack of accountability and we still don’t know where those cuts have landed.
“I really hope the rumours of pulling out of conflict funding, pulling out of climate adaptation funding, and pulling out of much of the healthcare funding are just that – rumours – because it will be devastating if true.”