Acting High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Lisa Whanstall said today that the the launch of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the United Kingdom is an important and historic moment.

"The new FCDO will bring together our best development and diplomacy expertise in the UK and across our 280 missions in the world under one new department uniting the best of Britain’s international effort. Our aim is as one team we can be even greater force for good in the world and for the people of the UK, working to build shared global prosperity, eradicate extreme poverty, leaving no-one behind, as well as tackling climate change, strengthening the international rule of law and global security, and promoting universal human rights and free, open societies.  These are the issues on which we have common interest with all our partners in Sri Lanka, in the region, the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the world," Whanstall said.

The UK will lead a global call to action to protect the world’s poorest people from coronavirus and the increasing threat of famine, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced today (2 September 2020).

The coronavirus pandemic, conflict, locust swarms and climate change have left 250 million people worldwide facing extreme hunger this year. Without international attention, many more will die from hunger and disease, and the pandemic will continue to spread in developing countries and to the wider world.

As the new Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is inaugurated on 02 September, the UK Foreign Secretary pledged to use the UK’s diplomatic levers and aid expertise to build a stronger international consensus to fight back against the devastating impacts of coronavirus, conflict and climate change.

The UK will commit a new £119 million aid package to tackle the combined threat of coronavirus and famines, which is expected to help alleviate extreme hunger for over 6 million people in Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Central African Republic, the Sahel, South Sudan and Sudan.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:   “Coronavirus and famine threaten millions in some of the world’s poorest countries, and give rise to direct problems that affect the UK, including terrorism and migration flows.

Global Britain, as a force for good in the world, is leading by example and bringing the international community together to tackle these deadly threats, because it’s the right thing to do and it protects British interests.

We can only tackle these global challenges by combining our diplomatic strength with our world-leading aid expertise.”

As the UK takes on the presidencies of the G7 and COP26, the Foreign Secretary will urge other countries to step up and help the developing world, as it faces a series of devastating challenges.

The UK is already leading the way in the international search to find a coronavirus vaccine and has committed to equitable access for all to a successful vaccine, treatments and tests. It is the largest donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is helping to make sure the poorest countries can access any Covid-19 vaccine.

In addition, the UK will continue to use its seat on the UN Security Council to call for life-saving humanitarian access for everyone who needs it and hold countries to account on their international legal obligations to allow aid workers to operate impartially in conflict zones.  

The UK has committed to spending 0.7% of national income on aid, and the formation of the FCDO today will make sure diplomatic influence and development expertise are combined to the best effect on the global stage.