The news that the Department of International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are set to merge comes at a devastating time for the world’s poorest people.

Now is the time for the UK to step up efforts to address the biggest challenges facing the world today; including climate change, poverty and gender inequality. COVID-19 has proved devastating for people across the world. For many of the world’s poorest, the problems that existed before the global pandemic seemed insurmountable, and now as many countries face the disease, huge inequalities are set to become even more entrenched.

It is scarcely believable that at a time when decades of progress are threatened by COVID-19, the Prime Minister has decided to scrap DFID – a world leader in the fight against poverty.

Now is the time to step up our ambition to work globally and DFID is the best instrument through which to do this.

2020 marked the beginning of the decade of delivery, where global action was taken to ensure no one was left behind. DFID is an exemplar for transparency and effectiveness, with an international reputation that would have been able to spearhead this work.

This merger could see the erosion of ‘Global Britain’. Diplomacy cannot replace aid. Middle income-countries like China or India must not be prioritised over lower-income countries such as Ethiopia or Somalia. Global issues will not be addressed if we only focus on the UK’s national interest.

We are not immune to the issues that affect the rest of the world’s communities, and we must ensure that we are poised and resourced for global action.

Rachel Cable and Claire O’Shea

(Co-Chairs Wales Overseas Agency Group)