The Global Fund replenishment conference was recently held in Montreal. DSW’s Katja Tielemann was on the ground for the proceedings. Here’s her take.
At the conclusion of the 5th Global Fund Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Montreal, Canada, on September 16-17, the Global Fund announced that pledges totalling US$12.9 billion were made. This is almost US$1 billion more than what was raised at the previous replenishment conference in 2013 and represents a significant commitment to fighting the three diseases over the coming three years. But will it be enough to end the three epidemics for good?
At the beginning of this replenishment process, the Global Fund made the case for a US$13 billion investment to allow it to keep on the right trajectory to reach the target of ending Aids, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria by 2030. But US$13 billion are only 80% of what it actually needs to be fully funded and so this can only be the beginning of an ongoing fundraising effort for the Global Fund (and the broader global responses to the three diseases which require strong advocacy in the coming years). It seems that the Global Fund set the funding target at what it knew it would be able to raise from donors, rather than at what it requires to meet the challenges and do its work properly.
Global Fund Replenishment – what is it?
The Global Fund plays a unique and important role in the global effort to fight the three diseases. Its work over the next three years is expected to save up to eight million lives and prevent 300 million new infections. However, we must not forget that there are millions more who will fall through the cracks if we stop and if we consider the work done after the replenishment conference and don’t do more to increase investment. Further mobilization, resources and leadership are needed to bring an end to these three epidemics by 2030, which is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As civil society we must ensure that what governments announced translates into funding, the pledges to the Global Fund as well as countries’ co-investment through their own health budgets. This is critical to address the needs of the most vulnerable and key populations no matter where they live.
Germany, like other European countries has increased its contribution; namely by 30% to €800 million. However, considering that the core contribution only increased by 10 million to €675 million and that the rest comes from exceptional contributions as debt to health swaps (€100 million) and Germany’s technical support (€25 million), Germany’s pledge was not as ambitious as hoped. But we are only at the beginning: we, together with our partners from German civil society, will continue advocating for a fair German contribution to the Global Fund.
New partners for the Global Fund Replenishment Conference
Many new partners pledged for the first time, and private sector contributions more than doubled. Several low-and middle-income countries, that are significantly increasing their investments in health, also pledged contributions to the Global Fund. Thus Kenya, for example, pledged US$5 million. Most African nations are recipients of Global Fund grants. However, several made contributions. While these contributions do not represent a large share of the Global Fund’s budget, they are an important demonstration of leadership and commitment.
Civil society advocates participated at the conference to ensure that the voices of key populations, such as women and girls and those living in countries transitioning out of the Global Fund eligibility, were heard. Private sector, rock stars, philanthropists and diplomatic leaders demonstrated their support for the Global Fund through several side-meetings. For example, a two-day pre-meeting “Celebrating the Gains, Meeting the Challenges was held on 15-16 September. The event brought together Canadian and international advocates to discuss ideas and develop strategies to mitigate the impact on key populations of donor transitioning out of middle-income countries they also deliberated the challenges and actions needed to maintain the momentum and prepare for the next replenishment in 2019. Human rights and gender equality as well as the needs of key and vulnerable populations were mainstreamed as cross-cutting issues.
Another event organised by civil society was the panel discussion “Sharpening our Focus: Human Rights and Key Populations in the Global Response to HIV, TB and Malaria”. As custom in Canada, the event was opened by an indigenous Mohawk Elder, Sedalia Fazio, who reminded participants about the health of the planet and our role in preserving it: “Everything on Earth is doing exactly what it was instructed to do—except human beings.”
What happens after the Global Fund Replenishment 2016?
Post replenishment is before the next replenishment. As Rachel Ong, Communication Focal Point of the Communities Delegation, said in her statement on behalf of the communities and civil society delegations on the Board of the Global Fund: “The 5th Voluntary Replenishment of the Global Fund cannot end here in Montreal and we will all be accountable for what we can achieve to end it for good.” The German and international civil society will continue to advocate for a fully funded Global Fund to continue to support people living with and most affected by the three diseases wherever they are.