WasteAid stands with our colleagues across the international development sector in calling for the Prime Minister not to renege on the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% GNI on aid and development.

 

To that end, WasteAid’s CEO, Ceris Turner-Bailes, signed this letter on behalf of WasteAid along with almost 200 leaders of international development.

Dear Prime Minister,

We write to you as leaders of organisations from the UK’s international development sector that work with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in more than 200 countries around the world.  

We understand the challenges and difficulties the UK government faces. COVID-19 has cost more than a million lives and has strained economies around the world, including in the UK. However, at a time when 115 million people look set to be pushed back into extreme poverty, now is the time for an international, collaborative response to COVID-19, as set out in your speech at the UN General Assembly. Now is not the time to renege on our promise to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on aid and development. Stepping back from our international commitments is not the solution and risks damaging the UK’s standing globally as we define our role in the world post-Brexit. 

The legal commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid already allows for fluctuations of the UK economy, enabling the government to recoup nearly £3billion worth of spending this year. A U-turn on your manifesto commitment to maintain the 0.7% target would signal we are a nation willing to balance its books on the backs of the world’s most marginalised people, many of whom are dealing with the impact of Covid-19 on top of existing hardship.  

This pandemic has shown us that no-one is safe from this virus until we are all safe. The UK’s experience and credibility as a “development superpower”, rooted in its commitment and expertise, means it has a critical leadership role to play in helping strengthen global health systems, tackle global challenges and reduce poverty to reduce the risks to us all from the next pandemic.    

Now is not the time to signal a withdrawal on the world stage by reneging on the Government’s commitment. 2021 sees the UK host the G7 summit and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). It is a time that requires increased, not decreased, engagement from the British Government in its efforts to help make the world healthier, safer and more prosperous.  We hope we can work with you to ensure that this is the case. 

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