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Is Sir Mike Aaronson right to call for DfID to be merged back with the FCO?

Written by Simon Maxwell


Participants at the launch of Roger Riddell’s new book, ‘Does Foreign Aid Really Work?’ at ODI last week were surprised to hear Sir Mike Aaronson, former director of the Save the Children Fund, suggest that DFID should be merged back with the FCO.  

Sir Mike said:

'The logical conclusion… in terms of how we are organised to deliver, is that… we should have a single external relations policy, which is obviously linked to domestic policies… but which doesn’t separate humanitarian from development policy, and doesn’t even separate humanitarian and development policy from foreign affairs and security.  …Do we really even need a separate DFID anymore?  Shouldn’t it just take over the FCO?  If we look at the downsides of NOT having a joined-up approach – of, in effect, having two foreign ministries operating in much of the globe – I think that it is worthy of consideration.’

You can listen to the meeting audio in full here.

This is a step further than I have so far gone, but the question of how development and foreign policy relate in the new development agenda is something we have debated in ODI.

Some useful related links are: