New PM must restore UK Aid spending to 0.7% of GNI if we are to have any hope of delivering the Sustainable Development Goals

The Leprosy Mission’s CEO says there has never been a more critical time for the new Prime Minister to restore UK Aid spending to 0.7% of GNI.

A report published today by Bond, the UK's international development network, reveals the UK has made little progress on its commitment to deliver the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

The Leprosy Mission is one of 150 member organisations to contribute to The UK’s global contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. It highlights critical gaps the UK government must address to create a better and fairer world by 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 targets agreed on by 193 world leaders in 2015 ranging from ending poverty to making sure everyone can access clean water and quality healthcare.

It is deeply concerning, however, that at the halfway point of the SDGs, little progress has been made in reducing extreme poverty. Around nine per cent of the global population are living on less than US$1.90 a day, consistent with 2015 levels.

Chief Executive Peter Waddup said it is now clear the global goal of ending poverty by 2030 is beyond reach unless urgent action is taken.

He said: "A triple threat of Covid, conflict and climate change is making ending poverty an uphill struggle.

"Poverty is both a consequence and cause of NTDs like leprosy which are a blight on humanity in the 21st Century.

"It is of the utmost importance that we as a nation urgently renew our commitment to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.

"We have a ready-made framework we have committed to and we must adhere to it.

"The challenges of Covid, conflict and climate change are making survival a daily struggle for the people we serve across Asia and Africa.

“Keeping UK Aid as low as 0.5% of GNI at a time when Bangladesh is hit by the worst flooding for a century and millions are on the brink of starvation in Africa is not only cruel but shortsighted. It reduces our impact and influence as global Britain.

"I am now eagerly watching the Tory leadership race in the hope that our new Prime Minister undoes some of the harm done under Boris Johnson's tenure. The UK Aid target must be restored to the UN's honourable target of 0.7% of GDI which was enshrined in British law in 2015."

The new PM will be chosen by members of the Conservative Party and there is no single standout candidate. The four remaining candidates have wide-ranging views on international development.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, former head of the Department for International Development, are thought to be favourites. Rishi Sunak has been accused of trying to impose further aid cuts by stealth while Penny Mordaunt is thought to have a more favourable approach.

Peter said: "Our new PM must restore the lifeline to billions of people dealing with poverty, conflict and climate change.

"I have been incredibly privileged to have witnessed the lifechanging effect of UK Aid spending in both Asia and Africa. I have seen the joy experienced by people disabled by leprosy when they are given the opportunity to work and live a dignified life. It is deeply humbling.

"We also experienced immense heartbreak when almost £2 million of UK Aid funding was taken away in 2021 after the UK Aid budget was cut.

"This money was designed to give thousands of people affected by leprosy and disability in Bangladesh and Nepal access to basic healthcare and employment opportunities."