The UK Government has published a new policy paper today (16 March) entitled ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age, the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’. It sets out the Government’s vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade and action it will take to 2025.
In response to the publication, Professor Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies, said:
“The Integrated Review published today has absconded from the vital opportunity to set out a new strategic vision for the three key pillars of development, diplomacy and defence. Instead, it reiterates a narrow focus on defence spending and fails to deliver the rounded vision needed to tackle the most pressing challenges that affect us all – climate change, poverty and inequality, conflict and disease.
“The lack of ambition for the UK’s role in international development is seriously disappointing and goes alongside the damning decision to reduce the overseas aid budget and funding for international research. These budget cuts will dramatically reduce the UK’s ability to deliver high-quality, interdisciplinary research essential to improving the lives of people around the world.
“The Prime Minister has set out an ambition to make the UK a ‘Science and Technology superpower’ but tackling global challenges requires investment in international science and research partnerships that go beyond the UK’s own interests. Planned cuts to UK aid-funded research will dismantle global science partnerships and lead to the effective downgrading of the UK’s long-established and world-respected development and research expertise.
“In a year when the UK will host the G7 and COP26, the commitment to climate change and biodiversity is welcome, but the disregard for development in this Review is a major loss for this country’s longstanding role as a development superpower, and the soft power and global influence it creates. This is another example of the Government failing to recognise the vital contribution that research and development expertise brings to the UK’s position on the world stage.”