In July 2021 the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) launched a call for evidence to inform its forthcoming International Development Strategy. This is a submission to the inquiry, based on work from across the Grantham Research Institute (see below).


Pressing global needs in both the near and longer term warrant a new model for development assistance. At the core of a revised approach must be the integration of development with the pursuit of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and resilience against climate change, to drive higher living standards that are more sustainable, inclusive and robust to 21st century challenges.

The effective delivery of the new approach will rest on multilateralism, including making the most of the great potential of the international financial institutions (IFIs) and the basic multipliers they embody. This would build on the UK’s history of support for internationalism and these institutions and is where the notion of ‘Global Britain’, effective on the world stage, would carry real meaning.

To achieve this, the International Development Strategy should set out steps to:

  • Work with emerging market and developing economies to coordinate plans for investment in physical infrastructure and natural, social and human capital. Country platforms can provide frameworks for collaboration with clear structures and objectives. National and local level governance are important, ensuring programmes and investment are responsive to development agendas and people’s real needs.
  • Target the integrated pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as combining climate action with a focus on gender equality, health and wellbeing, and education. Paying heed to the interactions and overlaps between different SDGs – and recognising where trade-offs must be made – is critical to foster every form of capital and to deliver genuinely sustainable development.
  • Drive international cooperation and dialogue to clarify and enhance rigorous standards for investment, promote a shared strategy for a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and develop mechanisms to address loss and damage from climate change and environmental degradation.
  • Support the international financial institutions, particularly the multilateral development banks (MDBs), to increase the scale of their interventions. Raising paid-in capital for the MDBs creates a strong multiplier effect, thanks to their capital structure. To leverage this, shareholders should agree to increase commitments on the condition that these institutions work more effectively as a group and with other development finance institutions.
  • Raise the level of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of GDP as an urgent priority, and increase the share of development finance that targets adaptation to climate change.
  • Foster partnerships in research and use the capabilities of the UK’s leading higher education sector, to help decision-makers and communities in lower-income countries to access the technology and knowledge they need to interpret and solve specific challenges they face.

The Institute’s work in this area

The evidence provided in this submission is based on work from across the Grantham Research Institute, including:

The Institute works closely with development practitioners among donors, development banks, and national and local decision-makers in many lower-income countries, and these experiences and engagements have also informed the content of this submission.

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