The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr. Christian Turner, has praised the UK’s support to Pakistan in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Turner noted the indirect support the UK government has provided through its funding to the COVAX Facility, an international partnership aimed at resourcing the development and fair distribution of new vaccines, treatments, and tests. COVAX is providing Pakistan with 17 million doses of the UK-developed Oxford University-Astra-Zeneca vaccine in the coming months which will help to protect 9 million from the virus and has committed to providing a total of 45 million doses. The UK has provided £548 million (US$736 million) in development assistance to COVAX, along with a further £250 million (US$335 million) in match funding which raised US$1.0 billion in additional resources from other donors to the facility.
The UK has also provided £20 million (US$26 million) in additional development assistance to Pakistan to fight the pandemic, including funding the World Health Organization to build laboratory testing capacity through training and provision of equipment across Pakistan.
Pakistan has been the UK government’s largest bilateral country program for the last five years and has received an estimated £302 million (US$405 million) between 2019 and 2020 in development assistance. The UK parliamentary committee on International Development has opened an inquiry into the effectiveness of UK development policy to Pakistan which will look at strategic focus, value for money, and the degree to which assistance is focused on the most marginalized and vulnerable. The inquiry will also examine how UK development assistance has adapted to support the COVID-19 response in Pakistan. Written submissions to the inquiry need to be submitted by April 1, 2021.