Thursday, March 10, 2005

[Global Poverty] £136 million for research to combat poverty

Press Release - Department For International Development

A major injection of cash for research into projects to help combat world poverty was announced by International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn, today.

He said DFID’s research budget will increase by almost 60% over the next two years, increasing from £86 million this year to £136 million per year in 2007.

The increase in scientific, technological and policy will help in areas such as

Drugs to fight HIV and AIDS,

Climate change and

Helping African farmers be more productive.

Hilary Benn said:

“Making science and technology work for the poor is a vital tool to help halve world poverty

“This extra £50 million a year increase in research funding means we can do more work in our priority areas of sustainable agriculture, especially in Africa; tackling killer diseases such as malaria, TB and HIV and Aids; helping states work for the poor; and dealing with the impact of climate change on poor people.

Progress in these will bring real and lasting benefits to people in the developing world and reinforce the UK’s role as a leading investor in international development research.

“However, globally, there is not enough research funding to meet needs. We hope this extra £50 million a year from the UK will be an inspiration to the wider development community to follow suit.

“DFID funds are already supporting research into: malaria drugs and bed nets; TB drugs and health services; HIV/AIDS vaccines and microbicides; sexual health; drought resistant crops; crop diseases and agricultural production; livestock vaccines; causes of conflict; fragile states; escaping long-term poverty; economic growth”.

“We funded studies into a common antibiotic which has dramatically reduced deaths among children who are HIV positive; new strains of millet which are resistant to pests and a new vaccine which doesn’t have to be refrigerated and could make millions more doses of vaccine available to children inremote areas.

“But it’s no good having world class science if you don’t have a working state or the infrastructure to use it. Recently, WARDA, the Africa Rice Centre that produced the NERICAs – the new miracle Africa rice varieties - was forced to move to Benin from its Ivory Coast headquarters, fleeing from armed conflict. This highlights how political instability and poor governance threaten high quality research that has the potential to massively improve lives and livelihoods in Africa. And it underpins the need for investment in wider governance and reform processes.”

“The need for more research is clear. Malaria kills 3000 people every day; there is no vaccine against HIV/AIDS; we do not have a clear view about what kind of approaches work to reduce conflict; and we do not have high-yielding, drought-resistant crops appropriate for the diverse and rapidly changing eco-systems of Africa. The increase in the research budget will allow DFID to commission further work to help find solutions.”