On 16 September 2016, the 5th Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will commence in Montreal, Canada. There, donors from around the world will pledge their commitment to invest in the Global Fund and support its goal of raising US$ 13 billion to be spent over the next three years; an investment that would save an estimated 8 million lives by 2020. The International AIDS Society (IAS) fully supports the Global Fund in its goal and urges all donors to reassert their commitment to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
There is no question that the Global Fund has radically transformed the response to these three diseases. Since 2002, its investments have helped save 20 million lives and reduce AIDS, TB and malaria related deaths by 40%, 29% and 48%, respectively, in the countries where the Global Fund invests. Despite these results, critical gaps remain. Funding shortfalls would significantly curtail the Global Fund’s ability to tackle high priority objectives, including redressing the disproportionate rate of women and young girls living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, the rise of multidrug-resistant TB in Eastern Europe, and sustaining successful malaria prevention and treatment programmes in East Africa.
The return of the International AIDS Conference (IAC) to South Africa this past July after 16 years was a reminder of just how far the world has come in the fight against AIDS. In that time, the number of people living with HIV receiving life-saving treatment rose to over 17 million. South Africa is now home to the world’s largest HIV treatment programme.
The Global Fund is universally recognized as an essential part of this success. “Fully fund the Global Fund” was a frequent refrain for many of the 18,000 researchers, scientists, and activists who attended this year’s conference.
Donors should seize upon this moment of renewed global support for investing in the AIDS response by demonstrating their own commitment to the success of the Global Fund.
The IAS applauds the Government of Canada for hosting this week’s Replenishment Conference and pledging CA$ 785 million to the Global Fund — a 20% increase over its previous pledge for 2014 – 2016. It also commends those donors who have already announced robust funding commitments, including the United States, France, Japan, the European Commission, Italy and others.
Without these donors, the gains made against the three diseases would reverse in an instant. The IAS calls on remaining donors to stand up for the Global Fund and announce their renewed, strong commitment this week in Montreal. The world is watching.