UN says ‘unacceptable’ UK aid funding ‘should be revoked’
By MATT REID and ANNE KOPPICKLEThe United Nations’ top human rights official has called on Britain to end support for aid agencies working to alleviate the effects of climate change.
International Development Secretary Kenneth Roth said the UK should withdraw funding from a $1bn (£670m) programme run by the World Food Programme (WFP) that supports more than 2.7 million people in developing countries.
“It’s time for the UK to stop supporting the WFP’s work to reduce climate change,” Roth said in a statement on Tuesday.
Roth said the WFS program has “been a huge success, particularly in Africa” and the UK “should stop its funding of WFP to help support those who are already suffering from the impacts of climate and poverty”.
The UN’s refugee agency has said that between 2014 and 2020, 1.2 million refugees fled conflict and conflict-related events around the world.
The agency’s figures include about 1,000 people in the UK, which has a population of around 20 million.
The British government has said it is committed to “reversing the UK’s funding for the WFPS to those who need it most, especially in the developing world”, with the country’s aid budget currently projected to be £2bn.
Under a government plan, WFP will have to reduce its UK work from $8.5bn in 2019-20 to £3.6bn in 2026-27, a cut that will take it from a budget of around £3bn in 2020-21 to just £2.8bn by the end of 2021.
The UK’s new aid chief, Andrew Miller, will be responsible for the decision to stop funding, with Miller saying the WFC program was vital to the countrys aid efforts.
Miller also said that he would be consulting with the UN secretary general on whether the UK was “appropriate” to continue funding the WFF program.
“We will be meeting with the secretary general as part of the ongoing work that we are doing,” Miller told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Earlier, Roth said that the UK could not be trusted to “do the right thing” in the fight against climate change, arguing that the UN’s humanitarian aid budget was “not sustainable”.
“This is not a time to put a blanket rule on the world and say that the aid that we give to the world is sustainable.
This is not sustainable,” he said.
On Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that “all the work that goes into protecting the world’s poorest people from the effects and impacts of the effects we have caused, whether it is climate change or climate change caused by the world economy, the world itself”.
He said the government would work with the UK Parliament to “take urgent steps” to “protect” the country from the “impacts of climate”.
Johnson’s comments followed a similar call by the UK government’s minister for foreign affairs, Boris Johnson, to cut aid to developing countries in his latest budget.
“I think it is important that the Government takes a balanced approach to this issue,” Johnson said in his budget speech.
“The UN and other international organisations are working hard to tackle the challenges of climate disruption, and I am confident that our country can be part of that work.”
Earlier this month, Roth called on the UK Government to immediately end support from the WfPS for the World Vision International Disaster Relief Program (WWIDRP), which helps the displaced people of the Middle East.
WWIDLP is one of the largest humanitarian aid programs in the world, helping around 2.3 million people, including about 3.3 percent of the population of the UK.
In his statement, Roth warned that the WFDPR was “unacceptable” and called on British government to “refrain from continuing to support WFP in its work to help the poorest in the region.”
The World Health Organization has also called for the government to halt funding for WWIDRP.
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