The Future of UK Development Policy

The UK was once seen as a leader in international development, but amid a series of crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic and spikes in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has stepped back in recent years, with major aid cuts, a reduced focus on the poorest countries, and over a quarter of its aid budget being now spent in the UK. Where should the UK development policy go from here? 

CGD has elevated leading voices across the political spectrum in a series of conversations, including with the current Minister of State for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell and former Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Preet Gill, to set out their vision for the UK’s role on a global stage. 

And with the next UK general elections scheduled to be held no later than January 2025, CGD colleagues are also presenting proposals and recommendations for what the UK’s future role in international development should be. Explore our work—from innovative policy proposals, to recent events, as well as more in depth research, below: 

More from the Series

Blog Post
DFID 2.0…? Some Wild-ish Speculation on UK Development Cooperation, 2025-2030
February 27, 2024
In the UK context the main discussion of UK development policy amid all of these headwinds has been around the current government’s new ‘white paper’, which seeks to set UK development policy to 2030 and tried to be cross-party. That said, it could have a very short shelf life as presumably any inco...
Blog Post
Will a New (Labour) UK Chancellor Do Any More for Global Development?
February 07, 2024
In the coming weeks, the official opposition party—Labour—is expected to be granted access to civil servants to discuss their policy agenda to enable planning. Election manifestos will also be finalised shortly. But will Labour do any more for global development than the Conservatives have?
Blog Post
Doing Development Better: How Should the ‘D’ in FCDO Be Organized?
January 25, 2024
We set out and assess in the UK context the four broad models that have been used to manage development arrangements by most OECD donor countries.

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The UK Role in Global Health: Present Challenges and Future Directions
January 23, 2024
2024 marks a crucially important year for the world’s health, shaped by an economic and social polycrisis and recovery from COVID-19. Collective efforts, development assistance, and global solidarity are more important than ever. The UK once enjoyed a strong reputation in global health, but this has...
POLICY PAPERS
What Could the UK’s Future Development Structure Look Like?
January 25, 2024
Reform of the UK development structure is necessary to restore the effectiveness of the UK’s development function. How reforms are implemented will determine their success.
Blog Post
What Is the UK’s International Development White Paper For?
December 07, 2023
A couple of weeks ago, the UK’s Minister for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, presented the first new White Paper on International Development for almost fifteen years to Parliament. Its release has prompted much comment. My own opinion leans towards measured praise. But so far, none of t...
CGD NOTES
How the UK Can Make the Best Use of the Multilateral Development Finance System
December 06, 2023
This note argues that the United Kingdom (UK), working within old and new coalitions, should take a more strategic approach to the aims and funding of a leading cluster of major multilateral funding institutions. It sets out the UK’s role within multilaterals, the key reform issues and how to treat ...