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SCIAF Responds to UK International Development White Paper

20 November 2023

General climate change

Today, the UK Government has published its UK International Development White Paper – it’s first since 2009.  

SCIAF cautiously welcomes the UK Government's White Paper on International Development as a positive shift, acknowledging its renewed focus on global challenges. However, the organisation expresses significant concerns about the paper's limitations, particularly in addressing Loss and Damage.  

With COP28 approaching, SCIAF asserts that the paper, while a step forward, lacks the transformative ambition needed for the UK to genuinely combat global injustice. 

Ben Wilson, Head of Advocacy said:  

“The White Paper represents a very welcome u-turn from the UK Government on international development. The FCDO has clearly put a huge amount of work into setting out this new vision and rightly, the new Foreign Secretary is setting out an ambition for the UK to recover its tarnished global reputation. 

“We also welcome the commitments to redouble efforts on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reform global institutions, target aid to the most marginalised and the emphasis on two-way respectful partnerships.  

“But there is a lot that is missing. The paper fails to set out the full scale of reforms needed to challenge the unjust structures which perpetuate global inequality. Much more is needed on debt cancellation, cracking down on tax evasion and global trade reform. Ultimately, we need a return to our legally binding 0.7% commitments to aid, and to find new money by taxing polluters to pay for their climate damages. 

“With COP28 just ten days away, it is a huge disappointment that there is nothing in this paper about the crucial issue of Loss and Damage.  

“This is a step in the right direction, but falls far short of the scale of ambition needed for the UK to genuinely play a transformational role in tackling global injustice across the world.”