2 years ago

Global Fund gets powerful help with $18b funding goal

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The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will get some high-powered help this week to reach its $18 billion goal to fund another three years to slow the spread of these diseases.

President Joe Biden will host The Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference, the public health partnership's fundraising campaign, on Wednesday in New York. The start has been delayed by two days so that Biden, who has pledged $6.0 billion in US government support for the fund, could attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Global Fund and the Clinton Global Initiative, which is holding its first gathering of political, business and philanthropic leaders since 2016 in New York this week, has also announced a new long-term partnership to drive donors of all sorts toward supporting The Global Fund's work.

Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands told AP that fundraising through the Replenishment Conference is "always a bit of a rollercoaster." However, he is hopeful that the fund will reach its goal by the end of the conference, even though he recognises that donors, especially governments, face financial decisions complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

"Yes, there are many other demands and governments are facing lots of domestic political pressures around the cost of living, energy and all this kind of stuff," Sands said. "But I think there's also recognition that however tough things might be in some of the rich countries in the world, the way these things are translating in poorer, marginalised communities is a matter of life and death."

He is encouraged by Japan and Germany pledging 30 per cent increases in their donations to The Global Fund, as well as the United States' increased participation.

If the Global Fund reaches its $18 billion goal, it hopes to use the donations to save 20 million lives and avert more than 450 million new infections of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Since The Global Fund was created in 2002, it has saved 50 million lives and reduced the combined death rate from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by more than half in the countries where the Global Fund invests. That track record helps attract more investments.

"In a world where there's so many demands, so many potential things that you could be putting money into, there's a sudden attraction to putting money into things at work," Sands said.

Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton said the foundation has worked with The Global Fund for nearly two decades to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as build sustainable health systems in the countries the fund serves.

"CGI has always, by definition, been in the business of bringing together partners to not only tackle big problems together, but also define those challenges and prioritize what is most important within those challenges to get right first," Clinton said. "That ethos is so fundamental to what has enabled The Global Fund to surpass what even its founders' lofty hopes and goals were for it."

In addition to public commitments from governments, The Global Fund also receives significant support from the private sector, including philanthropy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have already donated $2.75 billion to the fund and expect to announce a new donation later this week.

"The Global Fund will go down in history as one of humanity's biggest achievements," Bill Gates said in a statement. "It's also one of the kindest things people have ever done for each other. The Global Fund's track record proves it is an excellent investment for our global health dollars."

The Global Fund has modified its funding procedures to draw more donations from philanthropy, said Sands. Governments are not allowed to target their donations to specific projects or countries. However, philanthropic donations can be.

"That allows them to, in a sense, focus on particular things that are a priority to them, whether it's geographies or particular areas of our work, Sands said.

Given all the health challenges the world is currently facing, The Global Fund is looking for all sources.

"We need all this energy," Sands said. "The world is not exactly in a great place right now. When you look at the different concurrent crises, we need to unleash a lot more ideas, initiatives, actions. And it's gonna happen."

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