Sir Elton John joins President Emmanuel Macron in calling for a $14-billion Global Fund Replenishment
On 21 June, the Global Fund issued a news release featuring Sir Elton John joining French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for the world to raise $14 billion for the Global Fund’s next Replenishment, whose pledging conference France will host in the city of Lyon in October 2019. The joint call was made at the same time as President Macron bestowed France’s highest award, the Légion d’Honneur, on Sir Elton, for his lifetime contribution to the arts and to the fight against HIV. The Global Fund quoted Sir Elton saying that incredible progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but that “we cannot become complacent,” and that “a fully replenished Global Fund is essential if we are going to consign this disease to history.” Sir Elton established the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1993, to provide treatment, care and support for people living with HIV, and it has become a Global Fund partner.
‘Fill Up the Fund’ campaign launches in Germany and online
The German-led ‘Fill Up the Fund’ campaign has officially launched, to support the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment. The joint campaign involves nine NGOs: Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), Aktionsbündnis gegen Aids, Freunde des Globalen Fonds Europa, Global Citizen, Kindernothilfe, ONE, Oxfam, Plan International and World Vision. The campaign’s most important element is a set of videos created with politicians and influencers, in support of the Global Fund. Twelve videos have been made so far – including the likes of German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and Alliance 90/Green Party member Kordula Schulz-Asche – and they can be viewed on the campaign website, fillupthefund.de. The site is only in German language, as the campaign is aimed mainly at German MPs and the German public, DSW senior advocacy officer Katja Tielemann-Ruderer told the GFO.
Japan commits to ‘saving one million lives’ with Replenishment pledge
On 21 June 2019, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an $840-million pledge to the Global Fund at Japan’s Sustainable Development Goals Promotion Headquarters, for the next three-year funding period. This sum, a 5% increase over Japan’s contribution for the previous period, will contribute to saving one million lives (as part of the Global Fund Investment Case goal to save 16 million lives). Japan has been a strong supporter of the Global Fund since its introduction of infectious diseases to the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa summit’s agenda in 2000, which was one element leading to the creation of the Global Fund in 2002. Japan is the fifth-largest contributor overall to the Global Fund.
Botswana decriminalizes homosexuality
On June 11, Botswana’s High Court declared as unconstitutional colonial-era legal provisions that criminalized homosexuality. The court’s decision was unanimous, finding that the “sodomy laws” violated privacy, were discriminatory and served no public interest. The New York Times quoted Judge Michael Leburu saying, “Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalized.” The Global Fund issued a press release applauding the decision. A representative of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS said that evidence from key population programming, among other strategic interventions, had made a significant difference in building the case that led to this court decision, after an anonymous plaintiff challenged the laws in 2018.
South Africa’s ‘human rights’ plan for HIV and TB
The South African National AIDS Council launched a three-year plan to tackle gender inequality and human-rights-related barriers to HIV and TB health services in the country, on June 12, just before the launch of the 9th South Africa AIDS Conference in Durban. The plan, which supports South Africa’s National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and Sexually Transmitted infections, recognizes the ongoing gaps in reaching the most affected populations, the Global Fund press release said. It will focus on eliminating stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and TB. The plan was launched by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at Gugu Dlamini Park, named after a young woman who was stoned to death in December 1998 after disclosing her HIV-positive status. The minister referred to South Africa’s 2014 Stigma Survey Index which showed that the worst forms of stigma come from family members, communities, and civil servants.