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Foreign Policy and Overseas Aid: Co-ordination

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 15 June 2021

What recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of strengthening co-ordination between foreign policy and overseas aid. (901218)

The creation of the FCDO combines our diplomatic network with our development expertise and resource to maximise our interests, influence and impact as a global force for good. The Foreign Secretary’s strategic oversight of ODA is bringing greater coherence and impact to UK aid, sharpening our focus where we can make the most difference and ensuring that every penny delivers results. The integrated review sets out the ambition for the UK to be a model for an integrated approach to tackling global challenges.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and the ministerial team on their part in securing the vaccination commitment to the developing nations at the G7 over the weekend. There are to be 100 million vaccines from the UK, 500 million doses from the US and 100 million from the EU bloc; although not necessarily proportionate, those commitments will have a major impact on the world’s most vulnerable people. Does my hon. Friend agree that the impact of overseas aid is greater when it is integrated with our diplomatic aims?

I absolutely agree with my right hon. Friend and I am grateful to him for asking that question. As we saw just last weekend at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, the UK really can achieve much more when diplomatic and political levers combine with our development objectives, be that on vaccines, as he illustrated, or on girls’ education or climate change. We can also use aid commitments to leverage greater financial commitments from other G7 countries and multilaterals. The G7 development-finance institutions and multilateral partners have committed to investing more than $80 billion in the private sector in Africa over the next five years. This is the first time that those institutions have made a collective commitment on funding for Africa. That absolutely demonstrates how the UK’s diplomatic network and development expertise can have a much greater impact when they work together.