My Lords, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a truly worthy cause which has transformed the lives of many since its creation in 2002. Programmes supported by the global fund have provided AIDS treatment for 3.3 million, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 8.6 million and 230 million mosquito nets for the prevention of malaria. It has also approved over £14 billion for programmes in 150 countries. The global fund works in collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organisations to supplement existing efforts in tackling the three diseases. The factors I find most appealing about the global fund model are the concept of country ownership and performance-based funding. It is making a direct contribution to the fulfilment of three millennium development goals, which cover child health, maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS.
Noble Lords will be aware that the global fund was plagued by scandals involving corruption and the misappropriation of funds which caused some countries to temporarily suspend payments. It was necessary to implement structural and management reforms. The global fund has recognised the need for there to be transparency and the need to root out corruption and malpractice.
The global fund has now made efforts to achieve greater efficiency by streamlining its operations through creating small departments with particular remits. Disease management committees meet once a month, including partner countries, to assess progress. The global fund also monitors the results of its direct investments in the 150 countries. I sincerely hope that this will provide comfort to some taxpayers who are doubtful about the merits of international aid.
The UK is the global fund’s third largest donor. Last March, DfID’s multilateral aid review rated the fund as one of the highest-performing multilateral organisations, which gave “very good value” to the taxpayer and had,
“very high standards for financial management and audit”.
It is for this very reason that I feel Britain should increase its contribution to the global fund over and above the current £384 million pledge over three years. If we increase our contribution, it will also help to attract greater financial support from other countries. I therefore ask the Minister to tell your Lordships’ House whether there are any plans to increase our contribution to the global fund.