What did the MDG Summit deliver for AIDS, TB and malaria?

The MDG Review Summit which has just concluded in New York was a landmark opportunity for the world to accelerate progress towards the eight Millennium Development Goals. Here we focus on what the summit delivered for MDG 6 which aims to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

In the final Outcome Document all UN member states pledged to scale up efforts to achieve MDG 6 through a set of eleven all-encompassing commitments to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support services for AIDS, TB, malaria and neglected tropical diseases; address drug-resistance and co-infections; improve detection and treatment of the diseases and strengthen the linkages between infectious diseases and other health- and development-related initiatives.

The final commitment made – and an area that RESULTS has been following closely – was to increase “efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, strengthening the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases, including through providing adequate funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and through United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and other multilateral and bilateral channels, strengthening innovative financing mechanisms, as appropriate, and contributing to the long-term sustainability of the response.”

In just a few weeks’ time, more than 40 donor countries, private foundations, and corporations will meet in New York on October 5 to top-up the Global Fund’s resources for the period 2011-2013. The MDG Review summit has been hailed by many civil society groups around the world as the perfect opportunity for countries to turn their words into action by making early commitments to the Global Fund and build the momentum necessary to make the Replenishment Conference a success.

So, did donors prove they were serious about delivering on their promise to provide adequate funding for the Global Fund? The answer is mixed: whilst a few donors stepped up to the plate, the signs are not looking good for the Fund to raise the US$20 billion it needs to do its share of the work to meet MDG 6.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the first announcement by committing €1.08 billion (US$1.4 billion) to the Fund for the next three years, increasing its current contribution by 20 per cent. France is the second largest donor to the Global Fund after the United States, with an accumulated contribution of €2.905 billion since the organisation’s creation in 2002.

Next up was President Stephen Harper of Canada who committed US$520 million to the Fund for the years 2011-13. The announcement takes Canada’s total pledges to the Global Fund to US$1.3 billion so far.

Further announcements were made by Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan who committed US$800 million “for the coming years”, signalling a major increase in Japan’s support for international efforts to combat the three diseases. The increase follows a US$560 million multi-year pledge made by Japan in 2008 and takes Japan’s total pledge to the Global Fund to US$2.09 billion since it was created in 2002.

The Government of Norway also said it will increase its contribution to the Global Fund 20 per cent for the next 3 years, making a total contribution in 2011-13 of US$225 million. This is in addition to the commitment made in June as part of the Muskoka initiative of US$500 million for the period 2011-2020.

As part of US President Obama’s announcement on the reform of the American approach to development, he announced that the US will “continue to increase funds to fight HIV/AIDS to record levels—and that includes strengthening our commitment to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria”. The level of the US commitment is still to be decided but advocates are calling for US$6 billion over the next three years.

In addition to traditional donors, the Global Fund welcomed a new fund-raising drive to raise up to US$28 million by the United Methodist Church, the first ever such commitment from a faith-based group, and new contributions of US$3 million from the ‘Gift from Africa’ campaign, the first ever such pledge by private sector companies in Africa.

What about the UK? Deputy Prime Minister used the MDG Review Summit to announce that the UK will help to halve the number of malaria deaths in at least 10 African countries and will boost malaria prevention and treatment across the developing world. This commitment, he said, will be backed by an increase in funding of up to £500 million per year by 2014 but stopped short of saying how this money will be channelled. As the current funder of three-quarters of malaria programmes, the Global Fund would be the ideal mechanism for at least some of the UK’s investment.

The Department for International Development have cited their current multilateral aid review as a reason for them not being able to make new commitments to the Global Fund before early 2011. RESULTS was one of many UK civil society groups who had therefore called on Nick Clegg to reinforce the UK’s commitment to fighting AIDS, TB and malaria and reassure other donors and recipient countries that they were not turning their back on the Global Fund at this crucial juncture.

Although the UK made an extremely bold and welcome announcement on malaria, Nick Clegg said nothing about HIV, TB or the Global Fund. We can only hope that discussions took place behind the scenes that will help make the case for increased UK investment in the Global Fund in the near future.

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