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Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Volume 612: debated on Wednesday 29 June 2016

1. What her policy is on the investment case for the replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (905508)

Before I answer Question 1, may I briefly offer my voice to the many tributes that have been made in this place to Jo Cox? I know that I speak for the entire development community when I say that she was an incredibly impressive Member of the House. We also had the chance to work together on Syria. Indeed, the Order Paper does not show it but she should have been asking topical question 5. I believe that the House is a much, much poorer place for not hearing from her today.

I also welcome the shadow Front-Bench team and welcome the shadow Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Edmonton (Kate Osamor), to her role. I wish her well.

In response to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Oliver Colvile), we welcome working through the global fund. This country has helped to keep 8.6 million people alive with HIV therapy. We have distributed 600 million mosquito nets and have treated 15 million cases of TB. We are actually the third largest funder. The UK is planning to support a successful replenishment of a strong, value for money global fund later this year.

Mr Speaker, as you can see from my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, I visited Zambia last year with RESULTS UK and saw for myself the excellent work that global fund investment is doing, particularly on TB-HIV co-infection. Will the Minister do everything possible to ensure that the fund’s replenishment target of $13 billion is met as a minimum?

Yes we will. The global fund is a novel but powerful model for delivering improvements on AIDS, TB and malaria at scale. We therefore want to see it do better. It still needs to focus on delivering value for money, but we will be lobbying other Governments, countries and organisations to continue supporting it.

May I press the Secretary of State on whether she accepts the case for a 20% increase in the UK’s contribution to the global fund, something which the global fund has specifically asked us to contemplate and which several other countries are doing? Might she also take the opportunity to make a speech on the continuing worldwide HIV and AIDS crisis?

That is an important question. Following the announcement of the multilateral aid review, which is coming out shortly, we are looking at how we approach the forthcoming replenishment. The key thing is to ensure that we lobby other countries and players to provide support alongside the UK, but, as the hon. Gentleman says, it is important that we show leadership ourselves.

Before I ask my question, may I express our solidarity with the people who were involved in the bombing in Istanbul last night?

The cap is a bizarre self-limitation. If Britain wants to give £1.2 billion to the global fund, why do we set a cap that prevents us from doing so?

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. While we have always been key supporters of the global fund, it is important that countries such as the UK do not let up on challenging other players and countries to play their role. 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.

I would first like to congratulate the Secretary of State on coming out over the weekend. I look forward to future exchanges across the Dispatch Box.

The global fund replenishment conference in September presents an incredibly important moment for the fund, which provides more than three quarters of all international finance to the fight against TB. Without renewed commitment, we will not realise the global plan’s targets, so when exactly will the UK commit to the global fund?

We will make an announcement following the publication of the multilateral aid review. I can assure the hon. Lady that two things are being focused on: ensuring that the global fund offer is strong so that countries are persuaded to invest in it and having a smart investment ourselves, as we have had in the past, to encourage other countries to join us.

The global fund has a remarkable record, having saved more than 70 million lives and treated over 13 million people for TB. Notwithstanding that record, Canada, Italy and Japan have each significantly increased their contributions to the fund by at least 20%. Will the Secretary of State ensure that the UK also increases its contribution?

As I have said before, we will finally announce what we are doing on the replenishment after our multilateral aid review. I can assure the hon. Lady that we are very keen to see a successful replenishment of the global fund. Our country has supported that for a number of years now. Looking at the progress on malaria, TB and AIDS, it is clear that we need to keep our foot on the pedal if we are to eradicate these diseases, because, in the end, they are holding back their countries from developing.