(Update - 07/06/21) Orbis Signs Open Letter To Prime Minister on Aid Cuts

June 2021

Update - 07/06/2021

It is regretful that the amendment to reinstate the 0.7% aid target has not been picked today. The government’s continued attempts to prevent parliament from having a say on whether the aid cuts should be reversed is nothing short of shameful. Too many aid and development programmes helping the most marginalised people have been closed down, taking away the basics, clean water and sanitation, vaccinations or education for children, food and shelter during conflict.

How can the UK expect other G7 nations to step forward, when we ourselves are stepping back, despite knowing there is no economic need for us to balance our books on the backs of the world's poorest people? The Government should live up to its manifesto commitment and reverse cuts to the aid budget urgently or give parliament a say.

Original - 06/06/2021

Dear Prime Minister,

As we approach this year’s G7, we, as representatives from NGOs, academia and business, ask that the UK government steps up to its role as Chair to lead negotiations with the world’s richest economies to tackle some of the biggest global challenges we all face. This must include a sustainable economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a significant increase in climate finance and support for the most climate vulnerable countries, action on vaccine equity including increased funding, and strengthened solidarity against threats to civic space, racial justice and human rights defenders.

We look forward to working with the G7 and UK government to deliver ambitious outcomes for people and planet at a time of unprecedented human need. Making progress on these critical issues at the G7 will require all of the UK’s diplomatic experience. Inevitably the UK’s decision to cut its aid commitment during a pandemic casts a shadow over its ability to deliver at this year's critical G7 summit. While other G7 countries have stepped up their aid budget, the UK is the only one to have rowed back on its commitments. A G7 that shows our support for other countries will be critical to a successful COP. Without a reversal to this decision, the UK’s credibility and voice on the international stage will be undermined, and its calls to other G7 leaders to do more on critical issues such as vaccines delivery, civic space, education, gender equality, healthcare, climate change and famine prevention risk ringing hollow.

Despite ongoing Covid-19 concerns and national response, economic forecasts predict we are set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021. There is therefore no justifiable economic need to continue to break our promise to the world’s most marginalised people.

The aid cuts are a double blow to the world’s poorest communities, coming amidst a pandemic. Week after week, media coverage exposes the devastation caused by the cuts, with feeding centres and clinics forced to close, water and sanitation projects cancelled, 78,000 healthcare professionals untrained. As a result, families are going hungry, girls are not going to school, women's rights are being sidelined, vaccines are expiring on shelves, and diseases are being allowed to spread and we are reneging on our commitment to lead from the front on tackling climate-change. Further, the decision to cut back UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding,removing 70% of funds from some programmes, has damaged long-term global partnerships and our ability to innovate and create evidence for effective ways to tackle worldwide issues.

COVID-19 and climate change demonstrate how interconnected we all are. Nobody is safe until we are all safe. The G7 provides a critical opportunity to make real progress on addressing global challenges, and we believe the UK can make a real difference. However, its credibility rests on its actions at home, and we hope the PM will use this opportunity to announce a return to his manifesto commitment to 0.7%. This would be a true signal to the G7 of the UK’s stated intention to be a ‘force for good’ in the world.

Read the full BOND statement

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