UK NGOs criticize government for limited consultation on foreign, defense, and development review

The UK government has been criticized for failing to sufficiently engage with key stakeholders on its 'Integrated Review of UK Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy'. The Integrated Review, launched in February 2020 by the Cabinet Office, aims to redefine the UK’s role in the world. Its findings will be used to set the strategic objectives of the government’s new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and, in turn, its development policy.

At the launch of the Integrated Review, the Cabinet Office touted the importance of ensuring the review process was open and consultative; however, after the review was temporarily suspended between April and July due to the COVID-19 crisis, in mid-August the government quietly opened up a short consultation window during which it accepted written evidence from stakeholders. The consultation period ended again on September 11. A senior representative from BOND, the network representing UK development NGOs, noted that there had been no formal engagement with its members; while some events were held over the last couple of months, it is difficult to know who has been consulted and on what. Richard Reeve, the coordinator of Rethinking Security, a network of NGOs focused on peacebuilding and security, also noted that the consultation was much worse than for previous government security reviews.

The Integrated Review will conclude in autumn this year, around the same time as the announcement of the Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review. An exact date for both is not yet known. 

News article - Devex