Global Fund donors pledge $12 billion

HARARE - Donors at the launch of the Global Fund’s Fourth Replenishment pledged $12 billion for the next three years, the largest amount ever committed to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

The pledges represent a 30 percent increase over the $9,2 billion in firm pledges secured in 2010 for the 2011 to 2013 period. In remarks made at a pledging session, several partners echoed the Global Fund leadership’s determination to attract further commitments during the coming three years in order to defeat the diseases.

“We’ve had a terrific beginning,” said Nafsiah Mboi, chair of the Board of the Global Fund, who led the pledging session. “I offer heartfelt thanks for the generosity of all partners in this effort. Now let’s go to work.”

Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, said in remarks closing the replenishment launch: “The 21st Century ideals that led to the founding of the Global Fund are now stronger than ever: partnership, shared responsibility, and mutual accountability.

“In many ways, this is a replenishment of hope. It is a lifting up of the human spirit.”

A mood of optimistic determination at the pledging session at the Replenishment launch was captured in an opening address by Ambassador Samantha Power, the Permanent Representative to the UN for the United States government, which hosted the Fourth Replenishment.

“We can beat this,” said Ambassador Power, referring to Aids, TB and malaria.

“Good things happen when multilateral organisations and national governments work together with scientists, philanthropists and civil society. Good things happen when we share responsibility and good things happen when we never give up. Above all, good things happen when we value every human life and honour the rights and dignity of every human being.”

The contributions announced include funding from 25 countries, as well as the European Commission, private foundations, corporations and faith-based organisations.

President Barack Obama last week urged other countries to match the US contribution in order to secure the funding needed. Obama added that the United States — the Global Fund’s biggest donor — would uphold its challenge to pledge $1 for every $2 committed by others through September 2014.

At the pledging session, the United States pledged $4 billion, although that could rise as additional pledges are made by other donors, up to a maximum of $5 billion.

Some participating countries unable to pledge at the session said that they plan to do so in the coming months. Several leading donors publicly announced pledges in the previous months, although a few did so just before the Replenishment launch. 

The Government of Japan announced a contribution of $800 million, underscoring its strong and sustained commitment to the Global Fund.

Canada announced that it is contributing $612 million to the Global Fund for the 2014 to 2016 period.

Germany also announced it is signing a binding agreement to contribute €600 million to the Global Fund for 2014 to 2016, consistent with an earlier pledge.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video message this week that Germany’s longstanding support would never waver.

In recent months, France, the United Kingdom and Nordic countries also announced large new commitments to the Global Fund.

President Francois Hollande announced in July that France would contribute EUR 1,08 billion ($1.5 billion) to the Global Fund for the 2014 to 2016 period, reaffirming its robust financial commitment, despite a deeply constrained financial environment.

France has been the Global Fund’s second largest contributor since its inception in 2002.

The United Kingdom announced at the UN General Assembly in September that it would contribute £1 Billion ($1,6 billion) to the Global Fund for the 2014 to 2016 period, the second-largest pledge by any government so far after the United States.

The UK commitment is geared toward encouraging other donors to ramp up their own contributions to the Global Fund, effectively unlocking additional funds, as the UK contribution is limited to a maximum of 10 percent of the total raised for the Global Fund.

Partners from private sector foundations and corporations also unveiled significant increases in their commitment of resources in the fight against the three diseases.

Bill Gates announced on Monday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was committing up to $500 million to the Global Fund for the 2014 to 2016 period. This includes $300 million previously announced and up to $200 million in new money that will be used to match other donor commitments.

(RED) said that it is contributing $40 million over the next two years. Other companies and faith-based organisations also made significant pledges, including Vale, Ecobank, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and the United Methodist Church.

Securing fresh resources for the next three years will help the Global Fund move closer  with its partners toward a tipping point in controlling these epidemics, turning what scientists call high-transmission epidemics into low-level endemics and making them manageable health challenges instead of global emergencies.

“We need a comprehensive approach,” said Ambassador Power.

“TB is the leading killer of people with Aids, and 80 percent of deaths from malaria occur in just 14 countries.”

“We have finally reached the time when we can envision a future where Aids, TB and malaria no longer claim millions of lives each year,” she concluded.

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