Liz Truss’ new administration is under mounting pressure to make a “firm, bold” financial pledge to an initiative set up to fight three of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, after promising nothing at a replenishment event in New York.
For the first time in 20 years, the UK made no commitments at a financing conference for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Wednesda, putting it behind countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Kenya.
Britain helped to establish the initiative – which has been credited with saving 50 million lives since 2002 – and is usually a top donor.
At the last replenishment event in 2019, the UK gave £1.4 billion, and the aid watchdog said in a report on Tuesday that the fund has performed well and hit targets.
The move has caused frustration in the development community, who say a commitment is needed now more than ever, as decades of progress against Aids, TB and malaria were set back by pandemic-related distribution.
“This is more short-sightedness,” David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, wrote on Twitter. “It will slow the fight against Aids, TB and malaria and damage the UK’s national interest.”