Commenting on the formation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Farah Nazeer, Deputy Director of Advocacy at ActionAid UK, says:
“We welcome that the UK Government has reinforced commitments on gender equality, however at a time when illness, disaster and inequality are rife and evidence shows that women and girls very often bear the brunt - the FCDO needs to go one step further. The new department should adopt a robust action plan which truly protects and promotes women and girls’ rights. As a first step, it should adopt and build on the ambition of DFID's much lauded Strategic Vision on Gender Equality – an example of best practice and a blueprint for this work.
"The formation of a department also offers an opportunity to establish new practices. To effectively protect women's rights, overseas aid must rise to match, and even exceed, the high standards established by DFID. Crucially, UK aid should continue to be scrutinised closely to ensure the UK taxpayer feels confident funds are reaching people and communities most in need. We are reassured that the Foreign Secretary has committed to maintaining the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), and also urge the Government to support the creation of a new cross-departmental select committee, empowered to assess aid wherever it is spent.
"We look forward to working with the interim leadership team to ensure development remains at the heart of the UK's work overseas. The FCDO, including its eventual permanent leadership team, must be diverse, gender-balanced and bring together both world-leading development and diplomatic expertise."
Read our manifesto on the 10 ways the FCDO can deliver for women and girls.
For further information or interview enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org; or if out of hours, call +44 (0) 7753 973 486.