STOPAIDS is disappointed by the key findings revealed by the joint Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS annual report published recently on Donor Government Funding for HIV in Low and Middle Income Countries in 2018.
The headlines of the report evidence the increasing concerns raised by many in the HIV sector over the last few years. The report points to the alarming reality that overall donor funding for HIV is flatlining and bilateral support is declining. In the bilateral picture overall five countries decreased their bilateral spend on HIV, five flatlined, and only four increased.
The report also makes the crucial point that while there have been some increases in total funding to the Global Fund (a multilateral), they are not offsetting bilateral declines. Globally, there is a gap of several billion dollars between what is needed to end AIDS by 2030 and the resources available from donor governments and others. This overall reduction in donor funding means the gap is growing rather than reducing this and undermines our ability to meet the Goals set out in Agenda 2030.
In this pivotal time for financing for the response it is especially disappointing to STOPAIDS that the UK’s reported bilateral spending has reduced by $158 million and that it is this decrease that has been the largest amongst all donor countries who have decreased. STOPAIDS have long been critical of the Policy Marker the UK uses to calculate the figures on bilateral HIV spend that feed into this report and welcomes the caveat in the methodology that the Policy Marker is under review – something that we have been asking for since the publication of our Stocktake Review of DFID’s work on HIV and AIDS in 2017. We look forward to continuing to work with colleagues within the Department for International Development to improve the tools used to generate these figures.
With the publication of UNAIDS’ Global AIDS Update 2019 – Communities at the Centre also calling for greater urgency in the response, it seems that now is not the time to be complacent or continue to allow funding to fall. While we rightly celebrate the pledges from the UK and many other key donors to the Global Fund over recent weeks and months we must aslo continue to call for full funding that meets global need through both multilateral and bilateral funding mechanisms.
The UK government is in flux, preoccupied by Brexit and also questioning how overseas development assistance is spent. This is especially challenging at a time when we are still facing huge gaps in political will, programmatic reach and financial commitments to meet our Global Goal of ending AIDS by 2030. We will therefore continue to use the information and analysis within these two reports to sound the alarm that the HIV response needs greater prioritisation.