Our targets

Douglas Alexander

Douglas Alexander talks to campaigners in Parliament Square

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development

Douglas Alexander is the new Secretary of State at the Department for International Development (DFID) — which plans and delivers the UK’s response to the international AIDS crisis. He replaces Hilary Benn who had been in post for four years.

DFID’s new AIDS strategy must include:

Action to reduce the price of essential medicines

  • Technical, financial and political support for countries wishing to use their rights under TRIPS to produce, export, or import generic medicines.
  • The development of a patent pool for essential medicines to accelerate the creation of generic versions of currently available medicines.
  • Actively oppose conditions that restrict the use of TRIPS flexibilities, or otherwise impair access to medicines, in bilateral trade agreements.
  • Urgently review the effectiveness of the TRIPS flexibilities, to identify and resolve all obstacles to their use.

Adequate funding for universal access

  • A funding commitment of at least £2.5 billion over the three years of the Strategy, providing the UK’s fair share of independently estimated global resource needs.

Strengthen health systems

  • Address the health worker shortage by investing in and supporting systems that link public services and the community, and ensure long-term sustainable funding for national health plans.

Student campaigning had made sure Benn was aware of, and responsive to, our campaign. Now we’ve got to start all over again, and so far Douglas Alexander hasn’t made a good show. Since he’s been in post, DFID have failed to contribute the UK’s fair share to the Global Fund — a really important international funding body for tackling AIDS, TB and Malaria. Now DFID are producing the UK’s new three-year AIDS strategy. Mr Alexander has so far refused all invitations to meet with campaigners.

If he won’t come to the campaign, we’ll have to take the campaign to him!

Gordon Brown

Photo of Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown has been Prime Minister since June 2007. He’s sympathetic to development issues, and has often spoken about our ‘moral responsibilities’ to tackle poverty and injustice. In a speech to the UN in July he said of the international commitments that have been made:

“We cannot allow our promises that became pledges to descend into just aspirations, and then wishful thinking, and then only words that symbolise broken promises … when it is our generation that has made historic commitments, when the time to meet them is now short, the simple questions that … we must ask are: If not now, when? If not us, who?”

But Brown has still not shown a commitment to tackling the AIDS crisis — yet this is absolutely vital to all other efforts on development. His leadership is crucial: we need to push this issue up his agenda, and hold him to the promises that have been made.

The Treasury

Students calls for a stamp duty on sterling

A 0.005% duty on sterling could raise more than $2 billion a year for international development

Extra funding is needed — and quickly — if the UK is to meet its international commitment to universal access. The Treasury holds the purse strings.

While in the past they have insisted a stamp duty on sterling is not feasible; a recent parliamentary inquiry combats this argument. They should follow the recommendations of the inquiry and begin to work on the stamp duty’s implementation.

It could be put in place quickly — in time for the Spring 2008 budget — if the political will exists. Our job is to help create that political will!