Beth Thompson, Head of UK and EU Policy and Advocacy at Wellcome, said:
“Aligning foreign policy and development goals must not mean losing sight of the UK’s role in improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people – or any commitment to the values vital to achieving this.
“Confirmation that the UK Government will maintain the current levels of Official Development Assistance is encouraging, but the aid budget must not be used as a diplomatic lever. It must be used alongside diplomacy to continue and strengthen the UK’s global role in international development. This includes continuing to support UK-based researchers whose work is vital to progress on global development goals, including building epidemic preparedness. For example, this support meant UK-based researchers were able to play a central role in the development of the world’s first Ebola vaccine, now protecting communities in the ongoing outbreak in the DRC.
“The UK must continue to play a leading role in global, scientific collaboration to address the world’s most urgent health threats, such as emerging infectious diseases, and ensure health advances reach communities everywhere equally and fairly. This can only continue with the experience and expertise from DfID being preserved through this merger.”