|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference on Replenishing Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Pledges from a meeting to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would allow millions more lives to be saved in the next three years, but additional funds could do even more, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this afternoon at a headquarters press conference.
“Today we raised more than 11.5 billion dollars for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” Mr. Ban said, as he announced the total pledges at the end of the three-day meeting called to mobilize funding for the period 2011 to 2013. He was joined at the press conference at by Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Fund, and Richard Manning, Vice-Chair of Replenishment of the Fund.
“This is more than we did at the last replenishment conference, and it is enough to give millions of people living in fear a new lease on life,” Mr. Ban said, adding that, “however, the demand for funding will outstrip even the important commitments made today”.
“That means we must continue to mobilize more resources, more will, more quickly. We must seek more innovation in funding, policy and delivery. And we must continue to expand the coalition of partners contributing to these extraordinary efforts,” he said, noting the current “belt-tightening” in public funding, following the economic crisis.
Mr. Ban said with adequate contributions to the Fund — which was estimated to have already saved some 5.7 million lives, providing AIDS treatment for 2.8 million people, tuberculosis treatment for 7 million people, and 122 million bed nets to prevent malaria — major health breakthroughs were in reach, including the elimination of deaths from malaria by 2015, as well as the end of transmission of HIV from mother to child.
Mr. Ban welcomed significant increases in contributions by the United States, which he noted made a multi-year commitment for the first time, along with France, Japan, Canada, Norway and Australia. He also commended commitments from the European Commission, Germany, the Gates Foundation, Chevron, the Russian Federation and China.
He also welcomed new contributors to the Fund, including the United Methodist Church, commenting that the coalition is broadening to include more companies and philanthropies, such as Takeda Pharmaceutical and the Gift from Africa Initiative.
Mr. Kazatchkine thanked all donors who had made possible the 20 per cent increase of funding, compared to 2007, adding that it could be taken as an expression of confidence in the effective results the Fund has produced. Apart from saving lives, the Fund was also about creating hope and bridging the gap between rich and poor, he said.
Commenting that implementing countries could face still greater difficulties, given the level of the funding, he said he was committed to a “relentless effort” to seek additional resources. With those resources, the Fund could do more to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Several correspondents noted that the Fund’s communications had indicated a shortfall from the announced goals of $17 billion or $20 billion, and asked if there would be cutbacks and dire consequences for the beneficiaries of the programmes supported. Mr. Kazatchkine said firmly that there would be no cutbacks in existing programmes, or their projected growth through Phase II of the current effort.
That meant, he said, that the current 2.8 million people on retroviral medications should grow to four million by 2013, and the amount of bed nets distributed should grow to 300 million by that date. However, the shortfall would slow down efforts to further scale up programmes and reach even more people, who would probably die without access to those programmes.
“This is the reality of the world… and this is a scandal,” he commented, while pointing out that results had been achieved that couldn’t have been hoped for a few years ago. He acknowledged, at the same time, that new HIV infections still outpaced the ability to provide treatment, and that was another reason that efforts to mobilize more resources had to be redoubled.
Asked what kind of innovative financing was needed to provide those additional funds, Mr. Ban said that there was no formula, but it was clear that belt-tightening in donor countries limited public funding. He gave the example of France’s initiate to add a fee on air tickets in order to provide medicines and sanitation support to developing countries.
Mr. Manning added that his colleague on the Global Fund board, who was dedicated to working with the private sector, was determined to raise the level of that sector’s contributions, as it also benefited from healthier populations.
On links with the United Nations’ Maternal and Child Health initiative, the Secretary-General said that there was always a connection between the initiative and the Fund, but he did not know the dollar amount; however, strengthening the Fund would undoubtedly help the initiative. “This is all a common effort,” he said.
Asked about the biggest impact of the shortfall between the $11.5 billion pledged and the $17 billion or $20 billion hoped for in the best scenario, Mr. Kazatchkine said that the larger replenishment would have allowed countries to scale up their efforts to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015. It was still achievable, but it would be more difficult.
On multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, Mr. Kazatchkine emphasized that the Global Fund was the only contributor to certain programmes to counter the scourge and so more resources were certainly needed in that area. There had been an underestimation of the threat posed by it world-wide, particularly in southern Africa and Eastern Europe.
Finally asked what amount of pledges the Global Fund expected to actually be fulfilled, Mr. Manning said that the Fund had an unusually high percentage of firm pledges.
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