News 02nd Dec 2015

Health at the heart of new National Security Strategy and UK Aid Strategy

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By Sophie Peresson

Flickr/Creative Commons - DfID

 

Health concerns have been identified as a top priority in two key documents released this week. There are clear synergies between these documents, which have identified common areas of intervention and support.

In its National security strategy and strategic defence and security review 2015, public health is identified as a “Tier One” risk - i.e. of the highest priority based on likelihood and/or impact. The UK is committing to invest in and lead international work in two major areas of global risk – one of which is health security.

Major issues of concern include: infectious disease, lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak, and leading the global fight against Antimicrobial Resistance. The UK will also be investing in new, large-scale research and development to combat the world’s deadliest diseases – these include diseases with epidemic potential and those which affect the lives and livelihoods of millions in developing countries, building on the UK’s commitment to tackle malaria and neglected tropical diseases.

UK Aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest - the 2015 Spending Review fundamentally reviews how this budget is spent. Crucially, the aid budget will be restructured to ensure that it is spent on tackling the great global challenges – including the root causes of disease.

In line with that principle, spending will be shaped according to four strategic objectives including strengthening resilience and response to crises: more science and technology spend on global public health risks such as antimicrobial resistance. The strategy sets out how, as a result of this new approach, the UK fund a new £1 billion commitment to global public health (the “Ross Fund”) which will fund work to tackle the most dangerous infectious diseases, including malaria. The fund will also support work to fight diseases of epidemic potential, such as Ebola, neglected tropical diseases, and drug resistant infections.

Special focus on corruption: Corruption holds back development. It is bad for the poorest, and bad for business. It corrodes the fabric of society and public institutions. In its Aid strategy, the UK restates its commitment to stamping out corruption and vows to continue expanding it. The UK will hold a global anti-corruption summit in London in 2016 to drive this agenda forward.