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To: Rt Hon Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

Stop DFID/FCO merger

Abandon plans to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Why is this important?

On 17th June the Prime Minister announced a plan to merge DFID with the FCO, to be led by the Foreign Secretary. The stated purpose is to create a united department that will better promote British interests, to allow the Foreign Secretary to make decisions on aid spending in line with the UK's priorities overseas. In other words, to prioritise helping those who can help us in return.
This means that the poorest and most vulnerable people, those who can most easily be seen to offer the UK little or nothing in return, will be pushed not only to the bottom of the queue, but all too easily off the queue altogether.
UK charities have already united to condemn this move, condemning it as having been taken "without any process or consultation, and against the recommendations of both independent aid scrutiny bodies as well as the UK's development and humanitarian sector", and transferring the aid budget into "the hands of those with little expertise in global health systems, humanitarian response and disease prevention and eradication" (Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond, a UK network for international development NGOs). Mark Sheard, CEO of World Vision UK, said it would "risk money being diverted to address UK foreign policy interests rather than alleviating poverty". A Google search of "DFID merger with the FCO" will provide many more, convincing arguments from UK aid and development charities.
Of course DFID isn't perfect; no institutions are. But its ability to give aid where it is most needed in the world represents the UK's ability to express our common humanity, not only with those who can scratch our backs in return, but with all our fellow human beings especially the neediest.
Please write to your MP now, making the points that:
* Aid tied to the perceived national interests of whatever is the government of the day will be inconsistent and short-termist.
* Although DFID, like all institutions, can always be improved, removing its independence and subsuming it under a trade-focussed body will both emasculate its expertise and remove its teeth.
* Finally, our true "national interests" are best expressed in being both altruistic and, if we want to gather international kudos, in being seen to be altruistic. DFID gives us a good name in the world; merging it with the FCO will lose its identity and its good name.



2020-06-18 21:41:41 +0100

25 signatures reached

2020-06-18 12:30:44 +0100

10 signatures reached