27 June 2016
ROME - The Government of Italy announced today a pledge of €130 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the three-year period beginning in 2017, highlighting Italy's leadership in global health.
The commitment, an increase of 30 percent over Italy's last contribution of €100 million, is a strong signal as the Global Fund prepares for a Replenishment conference in September. With the support of countries like Italy, the Global Fund is accelerating the end of the three diseases while building resilient and sustainable systems for health.
"For Italy, these three epidemics are a cause and a consequence of poverty," said Benedetto Della Vedova, Under-secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. "It is very important that the Global Fund remains on track to reach 22 million lives saved by the end of 2016. Italy is at the forefront alongside the Global Fund, both politically and financially. Taking decisive action means putting a strong focus on human rights and on the vulnerable groups most affected by the diseases, starting with children, women and girls. Italy's International Cooperation strongly supports the Global Fund's commitment to promote gender equality and access to health for all, without discrimination."
The announcement was made at a high-level event co-hosted by Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Friends of the Global Fund Europe and the National Health Institute to discuss global health in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Developments Goals. Also attending were Beatrice Lorenzin, Minister of Health for Italy, Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among many others.
"As a country at the forefront of the migration crisis, Italy understands that we live in an interconnected world and that we have a responsibility to help the most disadvantaged people to be healthier, wealthier and more secure in their own countries," said Gates. "There are many encouraging signs of Italy's renewed commitment to international relations, not least in global health and development. Today's pledge announced by the Italian government for the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria is another great sign of Italy stepping up its commitments to the poorest and most vulnerable. And I hope that we will see Italy once again become a leading supporter of the fight against these three deadly diseases which still kill three million people every year."
The Global Fund expressed deep gratitude to the people and the Government of Italy.
"Italy has been a vital partner of the Global Fund since the beginning and we are grateful for its leadership and vision," said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "Ending epidemics that affect the lives of millions of people in low- and middle-income countries is one of the smartest investments anyone can make to create opportunity, promote social justice and foster growth and security."
Italy has been a supporter of the Global Fund since it was established in 2002 to accelerate the end of the epidemics. Italy hosted the first meeting of donors to replenish the Global Fund's resources in Rome in 2005. Italy has also played a key role in shaping major Global Fund policies, including advancing human rights, transparency and investing in complex or challenging countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada announced in May that Canada will host this year's Replenishment Conference in Montreal on 16 September 2016. The Global Fund partnership set a goal for raising US$13 billion to be invested during the three-year period that begins in 2017.
Based on partner estimates, a US$13 billion contribution would save up to 8 million lives through programs supported by the Global Fund, avert up to 300 million new infections across the three diseases and lead to broad economic gains of up to US$290 billion over the coming years and decades.