Overseas aid and how UK is leading global response to virus – Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Britain has a proud record when it comes to overseas aid. Now spending is being targeted at Covid-19.Britain has a proud record when it comes to overseas aid. Now spending is being targeted at Covid-19.
Britain has a proud record when it comes to overseas aid. Now spending is being targeted at Covid-19.
THE world is now having to address the biggest threat that it has faced in decades: an invisible killer on a global scale.

Here in the UK, communities are united in their determination to beat it, making their own personal sacrifices by staying at home, protecting our NHS and saving lives.

There is a daunting outlook for countries in the developing world, simultaneously facing a health crisis, a humanitarian crisis and the risk of a protracted economic crisis leading to much greater hardship for years to come.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The threat of famines, exacerbated by the worst locust plague for 70 years, fragile healthcare systems that enable the spread of the disease and economic disruptions risk a much longer and harder road back to recovery than for wealthy countries.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the International DSevelopment Secretary. She addressed MPs on the overseas aid response to Covid-19.Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the International DSevelopment Secretary. She addressed MPs on the overseas aid response to Covid-19.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the International DSevelopment Secretary. She addressed MPs on the overseas aid response to Covid-19. | 2020 Getty Images

However, through the altruism of the British people and the expertise of our scientists and engineers, the UK is proudly playing a leading role in the global response.

Last week, together with other world leaders, the Prime Minister co-hosted a virtual global coronavirus response pledging conference. He called on countries around the world to step up their efforts and work together on this, the “most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes”.

World leaders responded and some £6.5bn was pledged, including the UK’s own £388m commitment for vaccines, tests and treatments. The UK is proud to stand with our international partners — this is a truly global effort, and the only way to fight this pandemic is together.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The UK is a development superpower, and we are also a scientific and medical world leader. This enables our response to this global pandemic to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Boris Johnson is leading the global response to the Covid-19 foreign aid crisis.Boris Johnson is leading the global response to the Covid-19 foreign aid crisis.
Boris Johnson is leading the global response to the Covid-19 foreign aid crisis.

DfID’s immediate coronavirus response to date amounts to £744m, but this is on top of our work to pivot much of our existing work to provide health, humanitarian and economic support where it is needed most.

We are investing on the frontier of research into new rapid diagnostics and therapeutics that can detect and treat coronavirus. Working in partnership with Unilever, we have launched an innovative hand-washing campaign that will reach one billion people around the world — a major contribution to global sanitation and hygiene.

With the support of British and international non-governmental organisations, and advice from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, we will reach one in seven people around the world with information on the most effective ways to stop the virus spreading and save lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We are also working to reduce the global economic impact of the virus. Last month, the UK, together with other G20 countries, announced a commitment to suspend debt service payments to the poorest countries until the end of 2020. This will create up to $12bn of additional fiscal space. DfID has also made up to £150m available to the International Monetary Fund for debt relief.

These measures will enable developing countries to direct greater domestic resources to their own healthcare efforts, helping to prevent the virus from spreading around the world.

We are supporting developing countries to make proportionate, evidence-based trade-offs between containing the virus and maintaining open trade, so that ​essential goods and services, including critical medical and food supplies, can continue to move around the world. That supports developing countries, but it also means that British consumers will get the vital goods they need.

Covid-19 is a global pandemic. It does not respect national borders. Individual efforts will succeed only as part of a global response. The UK will continue to play a leading role in galvanising the most effective co-ordinated international action. In 2017, the scientific community in the UK proudly played a key role in the international response to the ebola outbreak in west Africa. I am proud that we are doing so again.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We are using British expertise and funding to demonstrate leadership internationally. Recognising that needs will be great, we are doing whatever it takes to ensure that vaccines, treatments and technologies are available, to save lives and to support economies in the most vulnerable countries, and to help end the pandemic.

That will help reduce the risk of the world being attacked by a second wave of infection. As the Prime Minister said: “It’s humanity against the virus — we are in this together, and together we will prevail.”

Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the International Development Secretary. She spoke in a Commons debate; this is an edited version.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson, Editor

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.