UK’s Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson has announced the merger of Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign Office (FO).
The Prime Minister announced that the merger of the DFID and the FO would bring together Britain’s international effort in one new department and unite the development and diplomacy.
Work would begin immediately on the merger. The new department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, would be established in early September and would be led by the Foreign Secretary.
The merger is an opportunity for the UK to have even greater impact and influence on the world stage as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic disease and prepare to hold the G7 presidency and host COP26 next year.
“The UK aid would be given new prominence within our ambitious international policy. The Foreign Secretary will be empowered to make decisions on aid spending in line with the UK’s priorities overseas, harnessing the skills, expertise and evidence that have earned our reputation as a leader in the international development community,” Johnson said.
The UK is the only G7 country to spend 0.7 per cent of its GNI on overseas development and the government remained committed to this target, which is enshrined in law.
Announcing the new department, the Prime Minister said: “This is exactly the moment when we must mobilise every one of our national assets, including our aid budget and expertise, to safeguard British interests and values overseas.
“And the best possible instrument will be a new department charged with using all the tools of British influence to seize the opportunities ahead.”
The Prime Minister has also announced that the UK’s trade commissioners would come under the authority of UK ambassadors overseas to bring more coherence to UK’s international presence.
The objectives of the new overseas department would be shaped by the outcome of the integrated review, which was expected to conclude in the Autumn, and is the biggest review of foreign, defence and development policy since the Cold War.