CAFOD is calling on Alok Sharma, the new Secretary of State for International Development, to focus on tackling worldwide poverty.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Mr Sharma, the former Minister for Housing, to the role as part of his new look cabinet.
CAFOD Director Christine Allen said: “Alok Sharma has an opportunity to keep the UK at the centre of global affairs- if he ensures UK aid is focused on tackling poverty, not on trade arrangements.”
“This includes tackling the causes of poverty such as inequality and climate degradation,” she added.
The call comes after a report recently commissioned by CAFOD revealed that the UK government has spent over £600m of its aid money on fossil fuels since 2010.
CAFOD, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, referred to this statistic as “shocking”. The charity “urgently” called on the Government to “commit to ending all new aid for fossil fuels.”
Christine Allen called on Mr Sharma to use the aid budget as a “force for good” across the globe.
“The UK aid budget has been a force for good, changing the lives of millions around the world. It is how the UK has built its world-leading reputation and how it can maintain it. What better mission could an incoming Secretary of State wish for?” she said.
Mr Sharma is the third International Development Secretary this year, following Penny Mordaunt and Rory Stewart.
Commenting on his new role, the 51-year-old MP for Reading West said: “I am committed to transforming the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, giving them access to quality education and jobs.”
Declaring himself “delighted” with his new role, he said he would “make sure UK aid is tackling global challenges such as climate change, disease and humanitarian disasters.”
Picture: Young women help each other carry sacks of sorghum and beans after receiving them at a distribution centre in Yirol, South Sudan. (CNS photo/courtesy David Mutua, CAFOD)