France pledges € 1.08 billion for 2017-2019, matching its pledge for the previous replenishment period
On 26 June, France announced that it is pledging € 1.08 billion for The Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment, covering the period 2017-2019. The amount is equivalent to what France pledged for the Fourth Replenishment (2014-2016). France is The Global Fund’s second biggest donor (after the U.S.), having contributed € 3.8 billion since the Fund was established in 2002.
France has also introduced an airline ticket levy which funds France’s contribution to UNITAID. Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul said that “France’s leadership is indispensable, in many ways.”
The Friends of the Global Fund Europe were less exuberant about France’s pledge. The organization said that France’s commitment “didn’t tally with the investment level needed to end the epidemics.” The Friends of the Global Fund Europe said it signaled a potential decline of French leadership with respect to this fight against the three diseases. The organization added that “France had missed an opportunity to save millions of lives and to do more towards the end of the epidemics as the international community has committed to in September 2015 with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Laurent Vigier, Chair of Friends of the Global Fund Europe further commented that “even a minimal and symbolical increase of the French contribution would have been a sign of the constant political will of France to end these epidemics, to support the most vulnerable populations, and to promote global health as a factor of development.”
Italy pledges € 130 million
The day after France’s announcement, Italy pledged € 130 million for the Fifth Replenishment. In a news release, The Global Fund said that this represented an increase of 30% over Italy’s last contribution to the Fund. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who earlier announced that Canada will host the Fifth Replenishment conference, was quick to congratulate Italy on its increased contribution pledge on twitter.
Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, praised Italy’s renewed commitment to The Global Fund. The Fund’s news release quotes Bill Gates as saying that “As a country at the forefront of the migration crisis, Italy understands that we live in an interconnected world and that we have a responsibility to help the most disadvantaged people…. I hope that we will see Italy once again become a leading supporter of the fight against these three deadly diseases which still kill three million people every year.”
U.S. Senate approves 2017 budget
Whilst the United States has not officially made a fifth replenishment pledge, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $ 1.35 billion for The Global Fund in fiscal 2017 Budget. This should keep the U.S. on track to contribute at least $4.0 billion for 2017-2019 providing enough other countries come through. In 2013, President Obama’s pledged to provide $1 for every $2 pledged by other donors. By (U.S.) law, the U.S. can only contribute 30% of the total.
GFAN Fifth Replenishment tracker
The Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) has developed a live pledge tracker which can be accessed here. So far the announced pledges total 21% of the $13 billion replenishment goal (see figure).
There is just over two months to go until the Fifth Replenishment Conference scheduled for 16 September in Montreal, Canada. Traditionally, the majority of countries wait until the conference to make their pledges.