WaterAid statement – merger of DFID and FCO

Posted by
Fiona Callister
16 June 2020
WaterAid/ Joey Lawrence

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office to create the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Department. 

Tim Wainwright, CEO, WaterAid, said:

“DFID has led the world in effective aid spending and outperformed all other Government departments in terms of the effectiveness and transparency of aid projects. It is imperative that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people remain at the heart of all decisions, are the sole recipients of the legally consecrated aid budget and are not subsumed by what is regarded as in British interests. The countries in which development programmes are funded must be guided solely by the needs of the people, not by gaining geopolitical advantages or selling British goods.

“Covid-19 has shown the global community that until everywhere is safe from the virus, nowhere is safe. The new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Department can both help protect the British people from future outbreaks and ensure that the needs of the world’s poorest are met by immediately increasing spending on providing safe water, somewhere to wash hands and a decent toilet for everyone so that no-one is unable to protect themselves against the virus. 

“We look forward to working with new merged department to continue DFID’s good work to bring these basic services to everyone.”


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org/uk, follow @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • 785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] www.wateraid.org