The development community is eyeing the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria replenishment on Sept. 17 as a litmus test for aid under U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and the new head of the country’s Department for International Development, Priti Patel.
A number of civil society groups have focused their post-Brexit advocacy on the Global Fund and are pushing for London to remove a self-imposed cap of donating 10 percent of the total request. Yet many worry May’s trade-driven agenda and Patel’s track record as an aid skeptic could mean a funding cut, even as pressure for a generous contribution mounts from the aid community and other top donors, including the European Commission and Canada.
“Now, more than ever, we need to be demonstrating that we are an outward looking nation, which is determined to keep its commitments to the world’s poorest,” Ali Louis, political affairs adviser for Bond — a consortium of international aid groups in the U.K. — told Devex, speaking about the upcoming replenishment in Montreal, Canada.
As a founding member of the Global Fund, the U.K. shocked many in 2013 when it introduced a cap on contributions, limiting the pledge to 10 percent of the total request at 1 billion pounds ($1.46 billion).
“It has been done precisely to incentivise others and to make it clear that the fund will work best if it is supported by a broad donor base,” Justine Greening, the previous head of DfID said of the cap during a parliamentary hearing.
“Although we are a strong supporter of development and can be proud of our work, we want other countries to follow our lead, not lag behind,” she said.
The Global Fund, an international grant-making instrument founded by the Group of Eight in 2002, received less than $11 billion from donors worldwide for the 2014-2016 period, including $1 billion from the U.K. government. This year, the Global Fund is seeking $13 billion. Civil society groups are calling on the U.K. government to increase its pledge to $1.5 billion, about 14 percent of the total funding request.