Thank you for contacting me about protecting girls in crisis.
I know the UK works with a wide range of international partners to ensure the best results for girls across the world. I am proud of the leadership that the UK has shown, supporting the UN and national governments to keep girls safe. This includes the largest ever single investment to help end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the world: the UK is providing an extra £50 million to support the Africa-led movement to end FGM by 2030 and provide better protection for vulnerable girls.
Moreover, educating girls is the tool that can address a whole host of the world’s economic and social problems and, alongside all 53 members of the Commonwealth, the UK is working to help provide 12 years of quality education for all girls by 2030. I welcome the appointment of Baroness Sugg as the Special Envoy for Girls' Education, a new role which will help accelerate progress towards this target.
Girls’ Education is one of the five foundations of the UK's wider development work on gender equality, and between 2015 and 2019, the UK supported 5.8 million girls to gain a decent education. In 2018, the Prime Minister, as Foreign Secretary, launched the Leave No Girl Behind campaign. The campaign gets girls learning, builds international political commitment and boosts global investment. Our Girls Education Challenge is the world’s largest fund dedicated to girls’ education and is supporting up to 1.5 million marginalised girls in 17 countries around the world.
I am told that the Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development, expected to conclude later in the year, will define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and its outcomes will shape the objectives for the new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, including on International Aid. DFID and the FCO have already been working closely together on gender equality and the FCDO will continue to draw on the skills and expertise of everyone in the new department to champion gender equality in international development and humanitarian crises.