Policy Update

Australia's increased funding to heath multilaterals likely comes at expense of other programs

Given Australia's plans to dramatically increase its contributions to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and other multilateral health organizations including the Global Fund, in coming years, while maintaining its A$4.0 billion (US$2.6 billion) cap on development spending, experts are warning that other development programs will need to be cut. They are therefore calling on the government to increase funding for international development, especially given the intensity of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.

At the June 4 Global Vaccine Summit 2020, Australia pledged A$300 million (US$195 million) to Gavi for 2021-2025. This is the largest contribution made by Australia since the Liberal-National Coalition (center-right) government was elected in 2013 and marks a return to funding levels seen under the previous Labor Party (center-left) government. However, while the country's funding for Gavi has returned to pre-2013 levels, Australia's overall development budget remains far lower than under the previous government (A$4.8 billion or US$3.1 billion at the time of the comparable Gavi pledge).

Global health has become an increasingly important component of Australia's development program — and is a key pillar of its new development policy — particularly in the context of COVID-19.

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