UK Pledge to the Global Fund Warmly Welcomed
“The United Kingdom showed extraordinary leadership in global health this week by announcing an unequivocal commitment to fighting three of the world’s most infectious diseases,” wrote Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul in a blog. “We are immensely grateful to the British people for allowing us to play a role in saving and dramatically improving the lives of millions of people, their families, communities and countries.”
The announcement “marks an important moment in the UK’s role as a champion of international development,” said Alvaro Bermejo, executive director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. “We trust that this commitment will influence other donors such as Germany and Australia to step up and match the ambition shown by the UK.”
Several other observers echoed the latter sentiment. “The commitment from the UK throws down the gauntlet to other donor countries, like Germany, Australia and Japan, to dramatically increase their contributions so the Global Fund can secure the $15bn it says could tip the balance in the three epidemics,” said Ben Simms, director of STOPAIDS, a coalition of about 60 UK NGOs.
“This announcement sends a powerful signal to other donors,” said Friends of the Global Fight President Deborah Derrick. “The people of the United Kingdom can take great pride in this pledge.”
“The UK government made a historic commitment to transforming the lives of the world's poor. We now look at the rest of the world to ensure that this year's replenishment is a huge success,” wrote Lucy Chesire, executive director of TB Action Group, in a blog.
Melinda Gates, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was quoted in The Guardian as saying that the UK was showing “incredible leadership” in making this commitment when other countries were “stepping back on aid.” In the same article, performer Elton John was quoted as saying that the UK Government had “done a great thing…. It has set an ambitious goal and an excellent standard that others must follow.”
Rosemary Mburu, of the World AIDS Campaign and the Africa Civil Society Platform on Health, wrote in an email message, “Hearty congratulations from the heart of Africa to our UK colleagues who have worked so hard towards this ambitious announcement. Certainly, Africa cares about this pledge and the positive impact it can have. We join you all in applauding the UK government for such leadership.”
Professor C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health for Nigeria, said in an online post, “With its robust investment, the U.K. has joined other investors in the frontlines of the fight against disease, playing a big part in making it possible for us to be the generation that will defeat these diseases.”
United States will host replenishment conference
On 25 September, the United States and the Global Fund announced that the US will host the Fourth Replenishment Conference in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of December. The Global Fund is aiming to raise $15 billion for 2014–2016.
In a news release issued by the Global Fund, Board Chair Nafsiah Mboi said the decision by the US demonstrates an exceedingly strong commitment to global health, a willingness to invest and a determination to lead others toward the same goal. “This is a critical moment, when we must act decisively to defeat these diseases, and we are grateful for this act of leadership towards achievement of a shared goal.”
In April, US President Barrack Obama included a request for $1.65 billion for the Global Fund in the budget for fiscal year 2014 that he sent to the US Congress. If the Congress were to approve the request, and if it were to approve similar amounts for 2015 and 2016, the US could contribute about $5 billion for the Fourth Replenishment. Under US law, the US cannot contribute more than 33% of total contributions to the Global Fund.