25 September 2007
Largest Financing Exercise for Health Ever Undertaken
Berlin - Around 30 donors to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will meet in Berlin Thursday and are expected to pledge financial resources of up to US$ 8 billion to the fight against the three diseases for 2008 - 2010.
The Donor Conference is hosted by the German Government and will be opened Thursday morning by Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is the largest financing exercise ever undertaken for global health and the largest replenishment of any international financing institution besides the World Bank.
By hosting the Global Fund Donor Conference, and through its Presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) this year, Germany has played a leading role in accelerating efforts to fight the three diseases and reach the ambitious international goals.
The Global Fund currently provides 20 percent of all international financing for programs against AIDS and two thirds of all international financing for programs against TB and malaria. The new pledges will further accelerate global efforts to stem the three pandemics which hinder poverty reduction and development.
The Global Fund is slated to reach annual commitments of US$ 6 billion to US$ 8 billion per year by 2010 and donors were informed at an initial donor conference in March in Oslo that the total funding need for the coming three year period is between US$12 billion and US$18 billion. The Berlin meeting is unprecedented. It is the first and largest of a series of financing activities planned for the coming two years to reach this target.
After consultations with donors over the past weeks, the Global Fund has raised its expectations towards the outcome of the Berlin conference to US$ 7-8 billion in initial commitments.
The success of the donor meeting will determine whether the world community has any realistic chance of meeting the targets it has set to reduce the impact of these diseases. G8 leaders have committed to come as close as possible to universal access to AIDS prevention and treatment by 2010, and the United Nations hopes to cut by half the number of people infected with TB and killed by malaria by 2015, as part of its "Millennium Development Goals". A fully-financed Global Fund is crucial for achieving these goals and commitments.
The Donor Conference will be preceded by the signing of the first agreement ever to convert development country debt into health programs. Germany's Minister for International Cooperation and Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul will sign a "Debt2Health" agreement to convert €50 million of Indonesian debt to Germany into financing for health programs through the Global Fund. This is the first of several debt conversion agreements through which Germany will provide €200 million to health programs through the Global Fund over the coming four years.