Pandemic Response Report Card: United Kingdom

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It has been …

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… since Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "We owe it to future generations to build back better and base our recovery on solid foundations, including a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy."

What’s next?

The UK has publicly supported the need for a coherent global response to the pandemic, including the economic crisis. It has pledged to recycle Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to support vulnerable countries. However, the UK’s decision to cut its aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI means that every new commitment for vaccines, the recycling of SDRs, and other initiatives comes at the cost of existing programming.

The UK has committed to share a total of 100 million doses, including 30 million by the end of 2021, placing the UK sixth among G7 countries. To date, the UK has delivered 41.5 million doses*. ONE is calling on the UK to share at least 100 million doses by spring 2022. The UK must raise its ambition for both the total volume and pace of dose-sharing, and also publish up to date data on dose sharing, including use-by-dates and vaccine type. In addition, the UK should stop over-purchasing doses to ensure available supply for Covax and countries that have yet to administer first and second doses.

The UK committed $1.1 billion of the $1.6 billion it was asked to pledge to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) in 2020 and 2021. The UK should commit £1 billion in 2022 to fulfill its fair share of the financing needed to ensure that 70% of the population, across every income grouping, can be vaccinated by September 2022.

The UK has also committed to recycling 20% of its Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), including an initial £1 billion commitment to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust. However, this funding will be counted under the UK’s aid budget, meaning that low- and middle-income countries will not see any net benefit, as other aid will be reduced accordingly. This contradicts earlier claims that the new SDR issuance would result in additional financing for the poorest countries. In 2022, the UK must commit to more ambitious SDR recycling targets and ensure this funding is additional to the 0.5% aid budget.

*On 30th December the UK announced that it had shared a total of 30.1 million doses. Note that ONE is using Airfinity data for consistency across countries, and that this data accounts for the number of doses that have been delivered to countries - which for UK dose donations stands at 41.5 million doses.