Simon Starling

Simon Starling

Director of policy, advocacy and research

Simon was previously head of policy and UK campaigns at Concern, leading a team of advocates and campaigners influencing the UK government and the public on international development issues including hunger, nutrition, resilience and humanitarian crises. 

A development professional and social justice campaigner with more than 20 years working in the international development field, Simon has experience working in Africa, Asia and Europe with some of the UK’s largest international NGOs, including Oxfam, Save the Children and VSO. He has worked in senior roles on issues including climate change, conflict and peacebuilding, livelihoods and agriculture. 

His expertise includes design, implementation and management of advocacy and public facing campaigns; developing, raising funds for and managing development and peacebuilding programmes; planning, monitoring and evaluation of campaigns and programmes. Simon has lived and worked in conflict, post-conflict and developing countries including Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.


A scene from the Palanca-Maiaki-Udobnoe border crossing point, between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on 1 March 2022. People flee the military offensive in Ukraine, seeking refuge in Moldova or other countries in europe
21 March 2022
The demands on UK Aid are ever increasing. The high number of ongoing humanitarian crises, conflicts and the Covid pandemic, demonstrate that cutting the humanitarian and development budget to 0.5% was short-sighted.
Boris Johnson and Liz Truss arrive in Washington DC ahead of a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden.
10 January 2022
2021 was a titanic year for the development community in the UK, but what is 2022 likely to hold regarding how the UK government approaches Official Development Assistance (ODA), and how could and should the sector respond? 
Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab visit the G7 at Lancaster House
1 July 2021
Attempting to follow the money, or rather following where there will be no money, gives us some sense of what the government’s new approach to aid and development will look like in practice, ahead of the new "strategy" later this year.
2 March 2021
Despite some progress in the FCDO's first six months, concerns remain around development priorities, a lack of transparency in decision making and minimal consultation with NGOs.
Dominic Raab chairs the First Meeting of the FCDO
3 September 2020
With the newly created foreign, commonwealth and development office opening it's doors this week, we look at the risks and opportunities for development, and how the new department can help the world's most vulnerable people.
Abigail Smith, a volunteer from Covid Relief Bangkok
8 April 2020
With millions in low and middle-income countries facing devastation from the coronavirus pandemic, we outline what is needed for an effective global response to combat the crisis.
Shelter provided by UK aid for people displaced by Daesh in Iraq
24 March 2020
With the IDC announcing an enquiry into aid effectiveness, we examine the issues we'd like to see addressed and what the review should focus on.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his first Cabinet meeting since his reshuffle in the Cabinet Room
27 February 2020
DFID survived Boris Johnson's cabinet reshuffle, but could government restructures and the upcoming integrated review divert UK aid away from reducing poverty?
Mother and child
15 October 2018
60% of acute food insecurity cases are related to conflict. What can NGOs and governments do to end conflict-related famine?