Last month, MPs effectively voted to retain the reduction in UK spending on Official Development Assistance (ODA) from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI), a cut of around £4.5 billion in funding in 2020 for programmes that assist people living in poverty around the world. Over recent months, the scale of these cuts has been slowly becoming clearer, with funding for global education being cut by an estimated 40%, and funding for efforts to eradicate polio cut by 95%.
In April 2020, the UK made a historic pledge of £1.65 billion over 5 years to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to help protect 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries against diseases like measles, polio and typhoid. This became even more important with the COVID-19 pandemic putting the brakes on vaccination programmes in many countries. Similarly, in 2019, the UK pledged up to £1.4 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the period 2020-22, helping to save 2 million lives from the three diseases, again, at a time when the pandemic has now set back progress by many years. These were both pledges many of you campaigned for.
The UK’s existing commitments to Gavi and the Global Fund are based on sound business cases which were accepted by the UK Government, and it’s clear that they are among the best ways to invest ODA to achieve the Government’s priorities of strengthening global health and ending preventable deaths. The UK must keep these important international commitments, even within the reduced overall ODA budget, to ensure these global health partnerships are properly funded to do their vital work, particularly at this time of crisis. The UK Government should also budget for a significant financial contribution to the Global Fund’s next replenishment for the period 2023-25.
This month, please ask Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP to honour the commitments the UK has already made to these vital global health funds. If you can, please also write to local media to share your views on the cuts.
Check out our Action Sheet to find out more about the cuts to ODA, these two vital global health institutions, and why this is an important concern now. The Background Sheet summarises this in useful ‘talking points’ and includes a case study of why this issue matters.
Image: Norwich campaigners lobby Chloe Smith MP on the 2020 Gavi replenishment. Credit: Dela Anderson / RESULTS UK