At the conclusion replenishment meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria this week in New York, donors fell far short of investing the $20 billion needed to fully fund the fight against the three pandemics. Instead of the doubling of funding commitments needed to accelerate HIV, TB and malaria programme scale up, countries announced initial increases averaging approximately 25% or, in the case of some donors such as the UK, Ireland and Spain, did not pledge at all. This shortfall, unless corrected, will mean that the Global Fund will have to reject high quality country proposals, and dramatically slow down the pace of scale up.
The pledges and projections announced on Tuesday for 2011-2013 add up to $11.687 billion. Unless more commitments are made, the $8.3 billion funding shortfall will result in millions of deaths that could be easily prevented, and could reverse the gains made in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Without a fully replenished Global Fund, at least 3.1 million people in need of life saving HIV treatment and more than 2.9 million in need of TB treatment will not have access. More than 490,000 mothers will not be provided with the treatment to prevent transmission of HIV to their newborns. A fully funded Global Fund could virtually halt mother to child transmission of HIV by 2015.
This morning, the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, pointed out that, without a fully funded Global Fund, the world is at risk of backsliding in the fight against the three diseases. “If we lose the ground we have gained”, he said, “we will be back to square one – all that effort and investment, lost.”
One of the most positive outcomes of the Replenishment was the first ever multi-year commitment to the Fund from the USA. The Obama Administration intends to seek $4 billion for the Fund for 2011 through 2013 to continue America’s strong support for what it called an “important multilateral partner”. This pledge is a 38% increase in the U.S. investment over the preceding three-year period – a substantial increase especially in light of the overall budget challenges and the largest increase by far of any donor nation this year.
“Research breakthroughs and evidence from the ground show we are poised to make huge wins in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria,” said Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS in the USA and Board Member of the Global Fund representing Developed Country NGOs. “Failing to fully fund the Global Fund will mean failing to turn the tide on the epidemics. This would be a tragic waste of a critical opportunity and it will only cost more down the line. This initial replenishment meeting must only be the first step in a process to achieve full funding.”
The UK is one of a number of major donor countries who did not make an additional pledge to the Global Fund this week. Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell MP had informed civil society groups that the ongoing multilateral aid review meant that no new funding commitments to organisations such as the Global Fund could be made before early 2011 when the review is complete. He has however, reiterated the UK’s strong support for the Global Fund and its impact to date.
Civil society in the UK and around the world will now be looking to the UK and those other donors who have so far failed to make a pledge to urgently close the Global Fund’s funding gap over the next few months.