STOPAIDS strongly opposes the UK government’s announcement that it intends to reduce the UK’s Aid Budget, which is enshrined in law at 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI), down to 0.5%.
We understand the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on our country and our economy but refute the idea that the way to deal with this crisis is to shirk our international commitments given the global nature of the pandemic. Stripping back Aid now would dramatically harm our ability to help overcome the pandemic and would almost certainly lead to an increased loss of life. It will also disrupt and decrease the UK’s broader international development investments, which could have a dire impact on the global HIV response.
It is particularly jarring that these huge cuts are being reported at the very same time that the UK has announced dramatic increases in defence spending. It undermines any argument that the cuts are necessary due to a recession in the UK economy.
The UK is the second leading donor to the HIV response globally and our financial contributions support prevention and treatment efforts that have helped save thousands of lives. The global HIV response has been put under incredible strain by the pandemic with some estimating it could roll back progress by a decade.
With the UK being such an integral leader in the HIV response, global health, and international development we strongly urge all Parliamentarians to vote down any attempt to renege on our current legal commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development assistance. The virus uncontrolled anywhere is the virus uncontrolled everywhere and the need for international solidarity has never been stronger. At this time of global health crisis, the only moral and rational step is for the UK Government to lead by example and honor its global commitment to 0.7% of GNI on overseas development assistance. By doing so the UK will demonstrate true global leadership as it takes on the presidency of the G7 and deliver on its promise to Leave No One Behind enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals.