Major shakeup at FCDO as director general resigns – reaction from Bond, the UK network of NGOs

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is undergoing a major reform that will see the appointment of a second permanent undersecretary in addition to other high-profile personnel changes, which includes the resignation of Moazzam Malik, FCDO’s director general for Africa, who “declined a role in this revised structure”.

The changes at the FCDO signify a greater emphasis on foreign policy issues, seemingly at the expense of humanitarian assistance and development and come before the launch of the repeatedly delayed International Development Strategy. At least two of the new roles are dedicated to security.

Stephanie Draper, CEO at Bond, the UK network of NGOs, said in response:
“The changes present worrying signs for the FCDO’s ability to deal with the root causes of insecurity and instability through international development – development that was supposed to be at the heart of the merged department. With the current crisis in Ukraine, the FCDO now risks buckling under the weight of crisis after crisis, while grappling with extreme poverty, climate change, and the global recovery from the pandemic.
“Malik has been vital to the merger since day one, so his resignation is a real blow to the department and to our relationship with Africa. A second permanent undersecretary and a director general for development and humanitarian assistance is welcome, but the FCDO urgently needs a dedicated international development minister in the Cabinet to drive the UK’s development priorities. The FCDO needs real senior level expertise to help prevent future crisis, rather than constantly trying to deal with the aftermath.”

Significant changes at the FCDO also include: Tim Barrow, FCDO’s political director, will take up a newly created permanent undersecretary position alongside Philip Barton, who currently holds the role. Nick Dyer, currently FCDO’s special envoy for famine prevention and humanitarian affairs, will become director general for humanitarian and development issues.
Kumar Iyer, who serves as director general for delivery at FCDO, will become the director general for economics and global issues, while Jenny Bates, director general for the Indo-Pacific, will take over responsibility for British International Investment — the development finance agency that is now known as CDC Group but is set to change its name in April.
Thomas Drew, who is currently director general for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, will take responsibility for defence and intelligence, coordinating the department’s work on Russia and Ukraine.


Notes to editor:

  1. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  2. Find out more about the FCDO reform in this Devex article, published last night.
  3. For further information or interviews please contact Juliet Conway on 07990518334 or [email protected]