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UK government funds measures to contain DRC Ebola epidemic

The UK government has announced a further £8 million (US$10 million) in funding for countries neighboring the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, and Rwanda, in an attempt to prevent Ebola from spreading. The funding will help to deliver more temperature checks at border crossings, support Ebola treatment units, provide clean water and sanitation, and enable engagement with local communities to raise awareness of the dangers of Ebola.

There have been more than 2,850 cases of Ebola in the DRC and almost 2,000 people have died from the disease there to date.

Press release - UK government

United Kingdom Global health

UK government urges NGOs to apply for funding guarantee before Brexit

The UK’s new secretary for state for international development, Alok Sharma, has written to British NGOs urging those that currently receive EU funding to complete the necessary paperwork to enable them to take up the government’s offer to underwrite existing contracts in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The UK government has promised to cover any costs incurred by UK NGOs if the EU breaks its contracts with them.  

Sharma has also raised with Brussels officials the issue of discrimination, highlighting cases where UK NGOs have not been awarded EU contracts, as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the Union. The UK is still currently a full member of the EU. 

News article - Devex

Letter to NGOs - DFID

United Kingdom

UK parliamentary committee launches two new development assistance inquiries

The UK’s parliamentary committee for international development has launched two new inquiries. The first will assess UK government support for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 which promotes peace, justice, and strong institutions. The second inquiry will examine UK development assistance to Pakistan.

The Committee is requesting written evidence from NGOs, think-tanks and research institutions. The deadline for written submission for the SDG 16 and Pakistan assistance inquiries are September 27, 2019, and September 23, 2019, respectively.

Inquiries - UK International Development Committee

United Kingdom

UK provides additional funds for emergency food supplies in South Sudan

The UK minister for Africa, Andrew Stephenson, made his first visit in the post to South Sudan and announced an extra £18 million (US$23 million) of UK development assistance to help families gain access to food and water. Food insecurity in South Sudan is at its highest in 8 years; nearly 2 million live on the brink of famine.

The £18 million (US$23 million) is allocated from DFID’s central crisis reserve and is new money that would not have previously been spent in South Sudan. DFID’s total UK aid humanitarian support to South Sudan for 2019-2020 is projected to be up to £91 million (US$117 million).

Press release - UK government 

United Kingdom Nutrition

UK funding supports discovery of "ground-breaking" new tuberculosis treatment

A ground-breaking new drug regime, discovered by the TB Alliance and RTI International, has recently been approved by US regulators for use against drug-resistant tuberculosis. The UK secretary of state for international development, Alok Sharma, has stated how proud he is of the UK’s long-term financial support for the TB Alliance, which along with other donors' support, has helped the Alliance to make this new discovery.  

The new drug regime cures almost 90% of patients with the most difficult to treat strains of tuberculosis. The TB Alliance will now work towards introducing the new treatment regime in countries with the highest burden of drug-resistant strains.

News article - The Telegraph

EU-national scientists “deeply concerned” about Brexit's threat to European research

On August 13, 2019, a group of EU-national scientists published an open letter titled “danger to science of no-deal Brexit" in 'Nature', an international science journal. The scientists expressed their concern about the threat that Brexit would pose to international research, particularly in a 'no-deal' scenario, and warned that new challenges would arise if the UK was to be a 'shadow' member to Horizon Europe - the EU’s proposed research program for 2021-2027, or to some of Horizon Europe’s partnerships, such as those on global health research and development. The letter cautioned that a 'no deal' Brexit scenario would result in fewer European collaborations, diminished resources for research as well as constrained legal frameworks.
 
Open letter - Nature 

UK announces £49 million (US$63 million) in humanitarian funding to Zimbabwe

The new UK secretary of state for international development, Alok Sharma, has announced £49 million (US$63 million) in funding for a new humanitarian and resilience program to support thousands of Zimbabweans on the brink of starvation. The funding, of which £26 million (US$ 33 million) is reallocated from other budgets of the Department for International Development (DFID), will predominately go the World Food Program for disbursement.

Total UK development assistance from the DFID to Zimbabwe for 2019-2020, will be £114 million (US$146 million).

Press release - UK government

United Kingdom Nutrition

UK treasury fast-tracks one-year spending review, commits to maintaining 0.7% ODA levels

The new UK chancellor of the exchequer, Sajid Javid, has announced a fast-tracked spending review (to be finalized by September 2019) which will set the budgets for all government departments and will allow the new government to deliver on its immediate policy priorities of providing additional funding for the police, the education sector, and the national health service. Javid has confirmed that as part of the review, the UK will maintain its budgetary commitment of spending 0.7% of its gross national income on international development assistance.

The Centre for Global Development, an international development think-tank, has argued that Javid should use this fast-tracked spending review to ensure more effective development assistance and has proposed a re-purposing of the ministerial group responsible for overseeing official development assistance (ODA) to ensure that all ODA spending across the government, focuses on projects that meet the official ODA definition.

Press release - UK government 

Report - Center for Global Development 

United Kingdom

New UK international development secretary pushes for better trade with Nigeria

The new UK secretary of state for international development, Alok Sharma, has made his first overseas trip to Nigeria, focusing predominately on how UK funding can stimulate stronger trade relationships between the two nations. The trip came ahead of the UK's first UK-Africa investment summit scheduled to be held in London in January 2020. The UK has set an ambitious goal to be the top G7 investor in Africa by 2022. 

Sharma announced £1 million (US$1 million) in funding to Nigeria through a new partnership with a private infrastructure development group aimed at assisting the development of local currency bonds. Sharma was part of the successful launch of a similar initiative in India with the masala bond market, which allowed India to raise investments on the London stock market to finance infrastructure and create jobs.

Press release - UK government 

United Kingdom

Parliamentarians urge UK government increase protections for humanitarian workers against increasing violence

A new report by the International Development Committee, the UK parliamentary body responsible for examining UK development assistance, has urged the UK government to step up measures for protecting humanitarian workers.

New data reveals that in 2018 alone, the second worst year on record, 270 humanitarian workers were killed, kidnapped, or injured working in the field. Humanitarian workers, in general, are considered to be at high risk given the high number of protracted armed conflicts in humanitarian crisis situations where they are often stationed.

The criticisms came in response to USAID's most recent "Aid Worker Security Report" which specifically highlighted sexual violence against female humanitarian workers as a major problem. Furthermore, consistent underreporting of sexual violence due to stigma and intimidation means that incidents were likely much more frequent than the statistics appear to show.

News article - Devex

Aid Worker Security Report 2019 - USAID

United Kingdom