Donors showed strong support this week for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. They pledged 12-billion dollars at the fund’s replenishment meeting in Washington.
The 4th Replenishment Meeting raised funds to pay for Global Fund programs in the coming years. Contributions came from 25 countries, the European Commission, the private sector and faith-based groups. The $12 billion figure is about $3 billion more than collected at the last replenishment meeting in 2010.
UNAIDS – The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS – calls the pledges a “demonstration of global solidarity and trust.”
Tim Martineau, Director of the Executive Office at UNAIDS, said, “We just thought it was terrific news for global health and for the AIDS response and for TB and malaria. We saw it as a really strong signal of ongoing political commitment and a demonstration of the results that have been achieved to date. So, we were absolutely delightedly obviously by the outcome.”
The fund now has 80 percent of its replenishment goal of $15 billion.
“Were we surprised? Yes, very much so. We were hopeful that this might be the outcome, but obviously we’re very pleased to see it. It’s a difficult economic environment globally and the response that we have seen from – if I can call it traditional donors – has been fantastic,” he said.
Those traditional donors were joined this year by new donor nations making first-time pledges.
Martineau said the high-level of pledges in Washington is due to several factors, including traditional bi-partisan support for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
He said, “It’s not something that starts to sort of become a political issue. It is very clearly a humanitarian issue that everybody can unite and support,”
The Global Fund’s success, he said, encourages long-time donors to give more, but attracts new donors, as well. The fund is a major tool in achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. One of the goals is stopping the spread of HIV.
“This is a real opportunity to move the agenda forward to get to 2015. And then to look beyond 2015 and consider, ok, where do we go from there in terms of really trying to overcome these epidemics and really see a change.”
The fundraising will continue. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation says it will lobby upper middle-income countries to make pledges. These include Russia, China and South Korea. The foundation provides medical care to 250,000 people in 32 countries.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established in 2002. At the time, the three diseases accounted for six million deaths a year.