Liz Truss – 2022 Statement on the Government’s International Development Strategy

The statement made by Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, in the House of Commons on 16 May 2022.

Today we have laid out our vision for the future of UK international development. Development will be at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy, which uses all the levers available—including development, diplomacy, investment, trade, defence and intelligence—to deliver on our foreign policy objectives.

The strategy will help address increasing global challenges, delivering investment, supporting women and girls, getting humanitarian assistance to those who need it most, and continuing our work on climate change, nature and global health.

The strategy, which builds on a proud record of global leadership on development, will challenge dependency on malign actors, offering choice and bringing more countries into the orbit of free-market economies.

We will use British international investment and other tools to provide honest and reliable finance to help low and middle-income countries take control of their futures, giving them an alternative so they are not burdened with unsustainable debt with strings attached. This approach will help deliver the clean green initiative, supporting countries to grow their economies sustainably.

The strategy will rebalance the aid budget towards bilateral programmes. This will give the Government greater control over how money is spent, allowing a focus on priorities and improving lives around the world.

The international development strategy sets out four priorities where the UK can meet the needs of partner countries around the world:

Delivering honest, reliable investment through British investment partnerships, building on the UK’s financial expertise and the strengths of the City of London, and delivering the Prime Minister’s vision for the clean green initiative—supporting countries to grow their economies sustainably.

Providing women and girls with the freedom they need to succeed. We intend to restore the bilateral budget to help unlock their potential, educate girls, support their empowerment and protect them against violence.

Stepping-up our life-saving humanitarian work to prevent the worst forms of human suffering around the world. We will prioritise humanitarian funding levels at around £3 billion over the next three years, to remain a leader in crisis response.

Taking forward our work on climate change, nature and global health. We are putting the commitments of our presidency of G7 and COP26, and our covid-19 response, at the core of our international development offer.

Our new approach will:

Spend more on country and bilateral programmes rather than through multilateral organisations, empowering the UK to deliver more aid directly to where it is needed. By 2025, the FCDO intends to spend around three quarters of its aid budget allocated at the 2021 spending review bilaterally.

Use world-class British expertise to support partner countries by providing advice, exchanging lessons and evidence of what works, and building partnerships across Government, research, business and civil society.

Cut back red tape and excessive bureaucracy around delivering aid and give ambassadors and high commissioners greater authority to get programmes delivering on the ground quickly.

Sustain our commitment to Africa and ensure our development programmes in the Indo Pacific remain a critical part of our ambition to increase our focus on the region.

This strategy sets the direction for all of the UK’s development work. The FCDO will oversee cross-Government efforts to deliver the strategy and draw upon the expertise of the private sector, civil society and academia to advise and challenge us on implementation.