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CAFOD has responded to the publication of the UK Government's White Paper on International Development.

Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy at CAFOD, said:

“The Government’s White Paper today is a welcome shift of direction in many area - but there is still work to do. The commitment to ending extreme poverty, tackling climate change and delivering over half of UK aid to the lowest income countries is welcomed, and especially timely as we approach COP28.

“Equally, the UK’s move to actively partner globally within the multilateral system and to increase the voice of low-income countries is a positive step. The commitment to listen and support local organisations is very welcome as we know it’s often those local faith groups who are first responders in a crisis. Time and again the international aid system has failed to recognise or support their efforts.

“It is encouraging to see the Government acknowledging the need to urgently scale-up funding and address the scale of unsustainable debts in some countries. We hope following its publication there will be a chance to act boldly through legislation to force private creditors to participate in debt relief. This is critical, as these creditors are still holding out and taking payments from countries in Africa, whose governments are struggling to respond to the climate crisis or fund health and social services.

“While commitment to ‘strengthened co-ordination and locally-led action to transform the food system’ is welcome, the white paper lacks an overall strategy for food systems transformation. The focus on new technologies and innovation potentially misses the needs of smallholder farmers, particularly seed technologies and genomics. Any new policy frameworks must ensure these farmers can participate in developing, and can access, useful technologies.

“Finally, while we welcome the future focus of BII, the UK’s development finance institution, on low-income countries and increased transparency, we sincerely hope this will pave the way to re-considering the 20% of BII’s investments which are currently in fossil fuels.”

Notes to editors

  • For more information or to interview Neil Thorns, please call Lucinda Devine-Kennedy on 07793 972591 or email Sarah Baldwin on sbaldwin@cafod.org.uk.

  • CAFOD has a 24-hour media hotline on +44 (0)7919 301429.

  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. It works with communities across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East to fight poverty and injustice. The agency works with people in need regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.

Parliamentary submissions

CAFOD submits written evidence to parliamentary inquiries and consultations to support our global policy and research work.