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Ban Ki-moon, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Bill Gates, Kofi Annan and Bono come together to voice support for Global Fund

14 May 2010

Feature in new film to showcase progress

Geneva, 14 May 2010 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Global Fund’s Ambassador Carla Bruni-Sarkozy have come together in a new short film with philanthropist Bill Gates, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and rock musician Bono to voice their support for the Global Fund’s work. Released today, the film “The Global Fund: Together We Can Do Great Things” showcases the tremendous advances made in the fight against the three diseases since the inception of the Global Fund in 2002 and records their impressions of the journey so far.

Kofi Annan, one of the most prominent advocates of the Global Fund, reflects on the early vision of the Global Fund, recalling some initial skepticism. “When I first moved to the idea of a Global Fund, in fact I called it a war chest, quite a lot of people laughed it off saying “There he goes again, dreaming.” I love dreams. It always starts with a dream.”

That dream became reality and since the Global Fund’s establishment in 2002 it has approved proposals totaling US$ 19.2 billion making it the main contributor to the health–related Millennium Development Goals.

The film is directed by Jonas Odell, the award-winning Swedish animator known for his trail-blazing short films, as well as his original music videos for U2, Franz Ferdinand, The Hours, the Rolling Stones and others. Through his signature technique of turning still photography into floating 3D journeys through landscapes and situations, Odell’s direction brings a fresh approach to showcasing the Global Fund’s work.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, emphasizes that “the creation of the Global Fund was one of the kindest, most important things to happen to help improve people’s lives.”

It is estimated that the programs supported by the Global Fund have saved 4.9 million lives in the past six years. Every day an additional 3,600 lives are being saved.

“I think it is fantastic to see how money provided by donors turns into real help, real medicine and saves the lives of real people,” says Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cautions that, “there can be no let-up in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. If we ease up, these diseases will re-emerge. We either win this fight, or lose it. The success of the Global Fund is a test of global solidarity.”

At its core, the fight against the three diseases and the success of the Global Fund has been about forging new partnerships on the principle that countries decide their own priorities. “No one can fight an epidemic alone, we all have to come together” stresses Prof. Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “There’s truly an era prior to the Global Fund and an era after the Global Fund.”

Support from the private sector, such as the PRODUCT (RED) initiative, and rock musician Bono, a leading advocate for global health, has been crucial. “We can win the fight against the three diseases,” he says. “We can turn the tide on TB… We have the tools to prevent and treat malaria. Death by mosquito bite?- No! not in the 21st century, we’re not having that!”

Reflecting on the goal of an HIV-free generation by 2015, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy adds, “If we are to achieve the goal of eliminating transmission of the virus from mothers to children by 2015, there is still a lot of work to be done. But it is within our reach.”

The Global Fund on 19 May will be launching the BORN HIV FREE campaign which aims to mobilize public support for its work and for a world where no child is born with HIV by 2015.

2010 will be a decisive year in the fight against the three diseases. In 2010 the international community will be reviewing progress on Millennium Development Goals but it is also the year when countries will have to renew their financial commitments to the Global Fund. At the conference of donor countries to be chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in October, countries will make financial pledges for the period 2011-2013. The results of this financial replenishment process will decide whether the world will be able to achieve the promise of the health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.