16 March 2021

Today the government has published its Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy, and its vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade. 

Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond the UK network for over 400 organisations working in international development said: 

“We welcome the focus on international cooperation, open societies and climate change, as well as the acknowledgement that poverty alleviation, conflict prevention and stronger health systems are critical global issues that the UK needs to engage with.  

However, the Integrated Review suggests a departure from UK aid going to the people who need it the most.  The Review should have been an opportunity to understand how many destabilising factors come together, but some of the most foundational elements of a stable global society are poorly addressed – such as poverty and hunger. Instead, the Review looks set to align UK aid with our future trading and security partners.    

At this critical moment when we risk losing development gains through cuts to the aid budget, we need to do better.  We are already seeing the diminishing UK aid budget being diverted away from countries, such as Yemen and South Sudan, wracked by war, extreme poverty and on the verge of famine.  The aid budget is not a tap that the government can turn on and off when it likes without any consequence. Cutting aid means cutting programmes that provide critical support to communities - lives will be lost and any development gains reversed, but this also has implications for global security. The government must immediately abandon its attempt to cut the aid budget to 0.5% of gross national income before irrecoverable damage is done. 

We hope the new international development strategy will address our concerns. We would welcome government engagement with both communities from around the world and the UK NGO sector. Together we can develop an effective UK aid strategy that fulfils the primary obligation of aid to alleviate poverty and provide genuine support to the most marginalised people around the world.” 

ENDS

Notes to editor

  1.  The Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy can be found here.
  2.  Bond submitted written evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review in May 2020. Bond's evidence includes recommendations for how the government should use the Integrated Review process to position the UK as a country which uses its global influence to target poverty and inequality in all its forms, push for decisive action on the climate and nature emergencies, strengthen and defend international rules and norms, and act as a principled and positive force for change in the world.
  3.  Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  4.  For further information or interviews please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]