Reacting to the news that at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s 7th Replenishment Conference, the UK Government did not make a financial pledge but rather reaffirmed its commitment to the Global Fund, Mike Podmore, Director of STOPAIDS said:
“This welcome support for the Global Fund must be followed up within the coming weeks with a firm, bold financial commitment that helps close the gap to the replenishment target.
Anything otherwise would undermine the courageous effort of allies such as the U.S., Germany, Canada, Japan, Spain, Ireland, the European Commission, South Africa and others who have increased their pledges by 30%, to get the global response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria back on track.
With only the UK and Italy still to pledge there is a $3.75 billion funding gap. All eyes are now on the UK to show it is a global leader that delivers when it’s needed.
The UK government is constrained in large part due to the limitation of overseas development aid to 0.5% of GNI. But the UK can increase its pledge by exploring allocations from our domestic health budget to help protect our NHS from future pandemics and by ensuring our support to Ukrainian refugees is additional to 0.5% ODA spending.
Germany and Japan each delivered a 30% increase to their Global Fund pledges by drawing on domestic health budgets as well overseas development aid. They rightly recognise the Global Fund plays an enormous role in building global health security, which is essential for protecting economies and saving lives both abroad and at home.
The UK is a great friend to Ukraine and its people, and must continue its important support to its refugees. This is the right thing to do but should not come at the cost of overseas development assistance funding for people in lower income countries, which is needed to effectively respond to global crises and deliver our International Development Strategy.
One simple decision from Prime Minister Truss to make these refugee costs additional to the aid budget would give the financial scope for the UK to deliver a stronger Global Fund pledge.
It is now for the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, and the Foreign Secretary to use all available means to ensure the UK joins its allies to pledge a 30% increase to the Global Fund, or risk undermining their efforts to achieve the replenishment target and risk progress in the fight against the three diseases veering off track.
Ultimately, a necessary UK pledge of £1.8 billion would constitute 0.06% of GDP. This is a small cost to secure our health against pandemics that continue to end lives, burden health systems and hold back the global economy.”
Yana Panfilova, Founder of Teenergizer in Ukraine and campaigner living with HIV, said:
“In Ukraine, thanks to the Global Fund we now have seen AIDS-related deaths drop by 65% in the last 20 years, a huge achievement.
The UK has been a staunch ally of our fight against the Russian invasion but Russia must not only lose this war, Ukraine must be rebuilt and our people’s right to good health be upheld.
It would be hugely unjust for our people to survive Russian bullets and bombs, only to die from preventable diseases. I urge Prime Minister Truss to follow up this commitment with a bold financial pledge to the Global Fund, joining allies who have already increased theirs.”
The U.S. by law can only contribute one third of the total funding for the Global Fund, which requires other donors to step up to unlock matched funding and ensuring the U.S. pledge of $6 billion is maintained.
This means that if the UK pledges a maintenance of £1.4 billion instead of the target £1.8 billion, at least $676 million dollars could be foregone in US funding. This would mean nearly 1 million lives would not be saved and over 20 million new infections across the three diseases would not be averted.
- A £400m shortfall would equate to roughly $451m USD, meaning $225m would not be mobilised; a total shortfall of $676 million USD.
- Impact of lost matched funding from the US calculated by Friends of the Global Fight: https://www.theglobalfight.org/u-k-infographic-dont-leave-money-on-the-table/
STOPAIDS is a UK-based HIV, health and rights network. We draw on our 35-year experience working on the HIV response to support UK and global movements to challenge systemic barriers and inequalities so that we can end AIDS and support people around the world to realise their right to good health and wellbeing.
For more information please contact: email@example.com or on +447887348161