Health

MPs call on the UK to commit more cash to Global Fund

  • 22 May 2012
  • From the section Health
tuberculosis
Image caption Some of the fund will go towards treating and preventing tuberculosis

MPs are urging the UK to give more money to the Global Fund which fights AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

The International Development Committee has expressed concern that extra funding - pledged by ministers over a year ago - has not yet materialised.

The Fund has faced allegations of fraud, a shortfall from donors and a change of leadership.

Ministers say they will increase donations once they are convinced by the Fund's reform programme.

The MPs' report describes how the Global Fund has approved grants worth £14.1bn in 150 countries since it began work a decade ago.

It currently provides about 65% of all international financing to combat TB and malaria - and 21% of the money used against AIDS.

Difficult year

But the committee points out that the Global Fund has had a difficult year. It had to cancel its latest round of new grants.

The UK government's current pledge is to give the Fund £384m up to 2015.

Ministers have said they will increase the commitment - but the MPs are concerned that this money has not yet been delivered, nor the amount of the increase confirmed.

The committee chair, the Liberal Democrat MP Malcolm Bruce, said: "The UK has been a reliable partner to the Global Fund but we are concerned at the continued delay in providing additional funds.

"We strongly urge the Department for International Development to do all possible to commit funds earlier than 2013.

"A significant increase by the UK could help to catalyse contributions from other donors."

The MPs suggest the G20 meeting in Mexico next month could provide a good opportunity for the UK to make such an announcement - if ministers can be reassured that taxpayers' money is adequately safeguarded.

The committee heard evidence from the Global Fund's new general manager, Gabriel Jaramillo.

He recently announced new funds worth £630m. Japan has made its largest contribution to date.

Value for money for taxpayers

The international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said: "The committee is right to recognise the lifesaving impact the Global Fund can have.

"The past two years have been difficult for the Fund but I am encouraged that strong leadership is now in place.

"The UK is prepared to agree a significant increase in our contribution to the Global Fund - but it must show that the reform programme remains on track and is having an impact.

"We will need to be absolutely clear that British taxpayers are getting value for money for their support to the Fund."

Oxfam's head of development finance, Anna Marriott, said: "We urge the UK government to listen to the findings of this report and commit to doubling the amount of money they give to the Global Fund.

"The Global Fund is a crucial lifeline, providing treatment for millions of TB cases, distributing millions of mosquito nets to help prevent malaria and giving millions of people access to life-prolonging HIV medicines."

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