Testing times for Australia this week at Global Fund replenishment
By Stephen Howes Today and tomorrow (October 9th and 10th) Lyon in France will play host to the Global Fund Sixth Replenishment Conference, which will raise funds for the period 2020 to 2022. It could be a very awkward time for Australia.
The Global Fund provides resources to poor countries to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Typically, Australia has been a strong supporter. The causes the Global Fund champions draw support from a broad cross-section of both sides of the political establishment.
The Fund is seeking an increase in commitments from $12 billion for the last three year period to $14 billion for the next three, and it looks like it might get there. Major donors have already announced major increases: the USA by 15.6%, Germany 17.5%, and the UK 16%.
But there are two reasons to think that Scott Morrison will not be following in the footsteps of Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson, among others.
Whereas global aid is on the increase, Australian aid has been contracting. From 2013 to 2017, aid from Western countries increased by 17% after inflation – the same increase that the Global Fund is requesting. Over the same period, Australian aid fell by 24% after inflation.
Australia’s priorities have also changed in recent years. The Global Fund gives most of its money to Africa. Major powers are happy to support this because Africa remains very important for development, strategic and security reasons. Australia by contrast is in retreat. While the Pacific has always been an important region for the Australian aid program, today it sometimes appears to be the only region that matters. Aid to the Pacific was (in today’s prices, adjusted for inflation) $1.18 billion in 2013-14. This year it is $1.38 billion, an increase of 17%.
So far, Australia has managed these two contradictory …read more