We are very pleased to welcome Mark Lowcock, Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development (DFID) to this working lunch, just over 2 years since he spoke at a similar event.
Mark has been Permanent Secretary at DFID since June 2011. He trained as an accountant before joining the then Overseas Development Administration in 1985. His overseas postings have included Head of Central Africa (based in Harare) and Head of East Africa (based in Nairobi). At HQ he has been Head of the EU Department, Director of Finance & Corporate Performance, Director-General Policy & International, and Director-General Country Programmes.
As Permanent Secretary Mark is the accounting officer for the department, answerable to Parliament for how the department spends money. He also chairs the Executive Management Committee, which provides strategic direction for the management of DFID's operations, staff & financial resources.
The Government used the 2015 Spending Review to fundamentally review how the aid budget is spent (UK Aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest - cm 9163, November 2015) and this will be the focus for the discussion with Mark.
Mark will explain how the aid budget will be restructured, with spending shaped according to four strategic objectives: strengthening global peace, security & governance; strengthening resilience and response to crisis; promoting global prosperity; and tackling extreme poverty and helping the world's most vulnerable. This means that 50% of DFID's spending will be allocated to fragile states and regions, general budget support will be ended, there will be an expanded cross-government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, a new £1 billion commitment to global public health (the Ross Fund), and a new cross-government Prosperity Fund, led by the National Security Council.
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