The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating; already, COVID-19 has directly cost more than a million lives. Widespread disruptions to health systems and essential services have undoubtedly led to further, severe loss of life. Beyond health, COVID-19 has also impacted economies, education and livelihoods.
At the same time, COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever before how humanity is bound together by health. Global health challenges such as COVID-19 require global responses and solutions. This can only be achieved by countries working shoulder to shoulder to make sure everyone gets the support they need.
With this in mind, it is vital that the UK Government does not make a U-turn on its critical manifesto commitment to protect the UK’s 0.7% aid budget. This budget is essential in ensuring the UK Government can work in unity with other countries to meet the momentous global health and development challenges we face today, an approach we welcomed in the Prime Minister’s recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
We are learning the hard way that we need strong health systems and sustained solidarity, even through crises, to make the world a healthier, safer place. Dropping the aid commitment to any lower percentage would be a terrible signal that the UK Government is no longer committed to this approach and is unwilling to play its part.