Making Sense of the International Development White Paper

On the 21st November, the day after the Government released new International Development White Paper, BFPG convened a panel of leading experts to examine its content and explore what it means for the UK’s international development and foreign policy.

The BFPG’s Director Evie Aspinall was joined by Ryan Henson, CEO at the Coalition for Prosperity, and Olivia O’Sullivan, Director of the UK in the World Programme at Chatham House, to dissect the Government’s refreshed ambitions and priorities for international development, and how these align with the UK’s wider diplomatic ambitions and the priorities of the new Foreign Secretary, David Cameron. Discussion touched on the feasibility of the White Paper’s ambitions, the importance in shifting public opinion when it comes to aid and development, how Labour is likely to view to paper, and much more.


Ryan Henson

Ryan is Chief Executive Officer at the Coalition for Global Prosperity, working to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of saving lives, alleviating poverty, and bringing freedom, security and prosperity to those who need it most. Ryan has a background in international development, social mobility, and political campaigns. Prior to joining the Coalition, he worked for the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, and on human rights policy at the Ministry of Justice. In 2022 Ryan was appointed by the Government to serve as a Social Mobility Commissioner. Ryan serves as a Reservist in the Royal Air Force, has guest lectured at the University of Hertfordshire, and is a founding trustee of a social mobility charity. Ryan holds a first-class BA in History, and an MA in Modern and Contemporary British History, awarded via full academic scholarship, both from Queen Mary, University of London. An Aspen UK Rising Leaders Fellow, Ryan was the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Bedford at the 2019 General Election.

Olivia O’Sullivan

Olivia O’Sullivan is Director of the UK in the World Programme at Chatham House. Before joining Chatham House, Olivia worked for over a decade in international development and foreign policy in the UK government, across roles in the Department for International Development, Cabinet Office and cross-government teams. She was foreign policy lead and deputy head of the Open Innovation Team, a government research unit that translates academic evidence into policy. Her experience includes managing external expert engagement for the 2021 Integrated Review, working on the UK’s funding and policy response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, and overseeing a range of international development and humanitarian funding programmes. 

Evie Aspinall

Evie Aspinall is the Director of the British Foreign Policy Group. Her primary research interests are domestic consent for foreign policy, the UK’s role in the world and challenges posed by the UK’s strategic rivals. Evie holds a BA from the University of Cambridge and an MSc from King’s College London. She has previously worked at UN Women UK and the Future Leaders Network and was formerly the UK Head Delegate to the Youth7, the G7’s official youth engagement group. She also served as President of Cambridge University Students’ Union. She is a regular commentator in the media on issues pertinent to UK foreign policy.

BFPG Admin