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Statement on Department for International Development/Foreign and Commonwealth Office merger

The George Institute is a member of Action for Global Health and supports the following statement issued by the network:

Action for Global Health strongly opposes the UK Government’s decision to merge the Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and urges the UK Government to swiftly reconsider.

DFID is a world-leading development department that has been at the forefront of global health progress over the last decade and is consistently recognised for spending aid effectively and transparently. The FCO however has been criticised in both regards. Merging the two departments risks diluting DFID’s focus and progress in improving the lives of the world’s poorest in favour of pursuing UK foreign policy objectives. This decision also goes directly against the recommendations of a number of independent scrutiny bodies (such as ICAI and the IDC) and was announced without external consultation with experts. 

As a network focused on the health of people around the world, we are particularly alarmed by the timing of this announcement. Undertaking such a merger in the midst of a global pandemic will prioritise administrative concerns and costs over saving lives and reaching the most vulnerable and marginalised in the Covid-19 crisis. The UK Government should be entirely focused on the challenges at hand and in order to do so, we urge the UK Government to reverse this decision.