Tdh UK’s hopes for the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Tdh UK welcomes today’s launch of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). It comes at a critical time for the humanitarian and development sector, given the nature, scale and continued devastating impact of the global COVID19 pandemic on the world’s most vulnerable.
We hope that the FCDO will continue the outstanding work spearheaded by its predecessor, the UK Department for International Development, which provided outstanding global leadership and investments to support the world’s most vulnerable children and young people.
The FCDO will be spearheaded by the Foreign Secretary with decisions overseen by the National Security Council, but it will also be responsible for Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). We hope that ODA will not be diluted or redirected away from the core business of poverty alleviation and the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is vital that national security and diplomacy incentives, particularly those in relation to Brexit, do not undermine the UK’s track record on ODA. Crucially, the agenda for ODA should not be co-opted by narrow notions of the national self-interest and the focus must remain on supporting those most in need.
Two young girls in Tdh's Temporary Learning space in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Here, Tdh teams support displaced children by offering classes in literacy and numeracy, as well as psychosocial support. ©Tdh/Abayomi Akande
DFID achieved incredible results because it was transparent, offered value for money and championed the needs of those most likely to be left behind – including the world’s most vulnerable children. We are hopeful that commitment will also be reflected in the new FCDO and will be underpinned by DFID’s wealth of expertise and experience, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of protecting and promoting the rights and wellbeing of children worldwide. We are concerned that appointments to interim leadership team are weighted in favour or diplomacy rather than development.
We ask that the new department protects and upholds commitments to improving the lives of children, particularly in areas such as girls’ education, ending modern slavery, preventing violence against children and gender and disability inclusion. The FCDO must ensure that progress in these areas is not jeopardised.
We ask that the FCDO prioritises children. Today’s launch presents an opportunity for a new cross-government framework to set an ambitious agenda for children in this shifting global landscape. Children must come first. Whilst the COVID19 pandemic may not have such devastating impacts on their physical health, it has devastated their access to education, increased financial insecurity, hunger and levels of violence and abuse and created unimaginable psychological stress which is likely to have long-last impacts for those most vulnerable for years to come.
Header image: ©Tdh/Joakim Löb
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