The cuts to overseas aid announced today will have a devastating effect on young people around the world. School closures amid COVID-19 have compounded the already dire progress on Sustainable Development Goal 4. 258 million children were already out of school before COVID-19 struck, including 130 million girls. Now many will face further setbacks because of the UK abandoning its 0.7% manifesto commitment.
As the UK prepare to host the G7 and COP26, the world is expecting global leadership. Instead, today’s U-turn undermines the UK’s position and its global commitments, particularly the Prime Minister’s personal pledge of 12 years of quality education for all girls.
The 0.7% aid commitment is not only a legal obligation but one of the UK’s proudest achievements. In a year of turmoil, the commitment has received cross-party support on the understanding that helping the world’s poorest, as well as those in the UK, is morally, economically and politically the right thing to do.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded educational inequalities and is hitting the world’s most marginalised children the hardest. Quality education is critical to children’s safety, opportunities, and ability to reach their potential. This cut could mean that 940,000 fewer children receive this life-saving support.
Now more than ever, the UK Government needs to stand up for the world’s most marginalised people – meeting its manifesto commitment and fulfilling its legal obligation to 0.7%.