By J Brock (FINN)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the long awaited merger of Department for International Development and Foreign Office.

Named the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, (FCDO) it officially launched on Wednesday, 2 September.

“FCDO will unite development and diplomacy that brings together the best of Britain’s international effort into one government department. It will continue to demonstrate the UK’s role to act as a force for good in the world,” said the FCDO Press Office.

Though the UK is acknowledged as a world leader in international development, the Department also helps to overcome extreme poverty in developing countries by tackling medical challenges including coronavirus, saving lives in humanitarian crises and promoting education and sustainability.

Objectives of the new overseas department as well as a reset of the UK’s international priorities, will be shaped by the outcome of a major assessment underway across the UK Government, known as the Integrated Review. It is expected the Review will conclude before the end of 2020 and represents the biggest review of foreign, defence and development policy since the Cold War. The British Overseas Territories will remain an important component of the UK’s international interests.

Priorities for the new Department in St Helena include continuing to promote good governance, supporting essential public services, and delivering capital investment and encouraging economic opportunities through the continuing Economic Development Investment Programme (EDIP).  It is the same for all the UK’s Overseas Territories.

Announcing the new department, the Prime Minister said:

This is exactly the moment when we must mobilise every one of our national assets, including our aid budget and expertise, to safeguard British interests and values overseas.

And the best possible instrument for doing that will be a new department charged with using all the tools of British influence to seize the opportunities ahead.

The Prime Minister has also announced that the UK’s Trade Commissioners will come under the authority of UK Ambassadors overseas, bringing more coherence to our international presence.

“The FCO and DFID had a long history of working together to deliver, amongst other things, important projects such as the Airport, technical cooperation support and environmental improvements for St Helena. I welcome the creation of FCDO as an opportunity to unify the UK Government’s efforts to increase St Helena’s capacity to build a sustainable and prosperous future for itself.” Said Dr Philip Rushbrook, Governor of St Helena.

You can continue to contact the Governor’s Office through existing email addresses and telephone numbers. FCDO members of the Governor’s Office will also be contactable through a new email address from 2 September: