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Global Fund donor pledges fall short

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7 October 2010 12:19

The Lowy Institute hosts Pacific Friends of the Global Fund.

In the much anticipated replenishment round of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, held last Tuesday in New York, donor countries made a US$11.7 billion commitment for the years 2011-2013.

While at first glance this may seem a sizeable pledge, it falls critically short of the US$20 billion needed to accelerate progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals. It is also lower than the US$13 billion which the Global Fund announced as a minimum requirement to allow for continuation of funding of existing programs.

The US$11.7 billion replenishment will enable the Global Fund to continue its life-saving work, but it will allow fewer than 4.4 million people to be on antiretroviral drugs for HIV, instead of 7.5 million people under the US$20 billion scenario. Similarly, less than 3.9 million instead of 6.8 million will receive DOTS tuberculosis treatment, 110 million instead of 190 million will receive long-lasting insecticidal bed nets against malaria, and 2.5 million instead of 4.4 million orphans and vulnerable children will be supported. We could do so much more if only we had sufficient resources.

In light of the financial crisis, it was, however, expected that financial commitments would not attain US$20 billion. Nonetheless, arriving at a replenishment of US$15 or even US$13 billion seemed realistic and achievable. In the wake of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call for a final push to achieve the MDGs by 2015, it is regrettable that countries are not capable of making the contributions required. Millions of lives will now be in the balance.

The Australian Government made a pledge of A$210 million, which is a 55% increase over the period 2008-2010, but arguably less than the country's fair share of the global burden. A commitment of A$500 million seemed more in line with its steadily increasing budget for international development assistance, which is on track to 0.5% of GNI by 2015.

Still, my colleague Bill Bowtell, who was at the pledging round in New York, observed that 'Australia was one of a very small number of countries, including the United States, Japan, France, Norway and Canada, that significantly increased their support for the Global Fund'.

For a good comparison, country specific pledges are published here.

Photo by Flickr user fishyfish_arcade, used under a Creative Commons license.

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