STATEMENT: Boris Johnson appointed as new British Prime Minister – ODI response

23 July 2019

Reacting to today’s election of Boris Johnson as the UK’s new Prime Minister Sara Pantuliano, acting executive director of the Overseas Development Institute – a UK think tank, said: 

‘The UK is a global leader on development – not least due to the extraordinary expertise and trust built up in the Department for International Development.’

‘Speculation is rife that the new Prime Minister will merge DFID with the Foreign Office and the International Trade Department.’

‘It is clear that achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals needs a whole government effort.’

‘The UK should be deploying its considerable diplomatic clout and trading power to end extreme poverty, address crises, and avert a climate catastrophe.’ 

‘Better managed migration and cross-boundary co-operation require political responses to which the whole of the UK government must be committed and accountable – not just the development arm.’

‘If the Prime Minister merges DFID with the Foreign office there is a risk that its considerable expertise on the ground is lost; that UK leadership in humanitarian and development work could be eroded; and aid could become politicised.’ 

‘Overseas Development Institute research suggests there is little benefit in terms of efficiency savings through departmental mergers, and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact has criticised the way the rest of UK government has spent overseas aid.’

‘Any new arrangement must ensure that development and humanitarian principles are not subsumed by foreign policy imperatives, and that DFID’s effective infrastructure of worldwide experts is retained.’
  
Notes to editors

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Miles Barter on [email protected] or +44 (0)7808 791265

ENDS