Reacting to the news that the UK Government is pledging £1 billion to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – an almost 30% cut from its 2019 pledge – Mike Podmore, Director of STOPAIDS said:
“For decades the UK has been a leader in the global response to these infectious diseases, but no more. When other allies met the Global Fund’s call for a thirty percent increase, the UK went in the opposite direction, with a thirty percent cut from their 2019 pledge.
This is a disastrous decision that risks 1.54 million potential lives lost and over 34.5 million new transmissions across the three diseases, setting back years of progress. At a time when the global HIV response is in danger, with over 1.5 million new transmissions last year, this UK pledge undermines the international goal to end AIDS as a global public health threat by 2030.
This decision announced today will harm our credibility as a reliable international actor and leave us unable to respond effectively to other global crises.
It might seem perplexing when you understand just how strong the support for the Global Fund is from FCDO officials. Minister Mitchell has recently stated in Parliament that The Global Fund is ‘brilliantly effective’ and that Government support is ‘absolute and intense’.
So why, if FCDO support is so strong, has the UK not joined other G7 countries to give the essential funding increase needed to get us back on track in the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria?
The answer is due to budget limitations imposed by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. FCDO officials’ hands were tied by the fundamental constraints of a slashed aid budget (from 0.7% to 0.5%) and the UK treasury’s decision to take as much as £3.5bn in domestic refugee costs from the overseas development budget.
The Chancellor should use his Autumn Statement this Thursday to make domestic refugee spending additional to the aid budget, and plan a speedy return to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on aid. These decisions will provide the financial space to increase funding to the Global Fund and other critical priorities that tackle health threats internationally and at home.”
Notes to editor:
- Calculations made on the number of lives and new transmissions at risk have been conducted by the ONE Campaign.
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.
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