The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) opened on 2 September 2020, bringing together the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Prime minister Boris Johnson said the FCDO “will unite our aid with our diplomacy and bring them together in our international effort”.
In July 2020, we published 15 principles for the new department to make the most of the opportunities the merger presented, while mitigating risks to the impact of the UK’s work overseas and protecting its global reputation. We also set 15 tests, or hallmarks, to track how the FCDO is delivering on these principles.
Experience from other countries shows that merging foreign and development departments takes time. While it is still early days, critical decisions have already been made about the strategic direction and budget of the FCDO. The government set out its new strategic framework for official development assistance (ODA) in November 2020 and announced its intention to cut ODA from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI. However, much will depend on the publication of the forthcoming Integrated Review.
This review assesses the progress the FCDO has made towards the principles and hallmarks during its first six months. We also suggest priorities for the next six months, which include the UK hosting the G7 and laying the groundwork for the COP 26 Summit. The focus is on setting out concrete actions which will realise the prime minister’s goal of uniting development and diplomacy in support of international efforts and ensure the merger delivers for people living in poverty around the world.
This review was developed with feedback from Bond members and Bond group chairs. Assessments are based on decisions made, commitments set out in public statements and official letters, and information shared through interactions with senior FCDO officials. It has been shared with the FCDO.