Good news: Donors pledge total of $4.3 billion to GAVI

The good news in development often gets buried, deep below wars and debt and disaster. But today, world leaders made bold new pledges to the GAVI Alliance in support of child vaccines, making the choice clear for reporters, press secretaries and live-tweeters alike: today was going to be a good news day.

In fact, in spite of tough economic times, donors collectively pledged $4.3 billion between now and 2015 — surpassing GAVI’s $3.7 billion funding gap — setting GAVI and its partners on the path toward saving nearly 4 million children’s lives in the next five years.

Some notable pledges from the donor pool:

  • United Kingdom and Norway ($1.33 billion and $677 million over five years, respectively): the outright leaders in public funding for GAVI. A special nod to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Secretary Andrew Mitchell for their leadership around the pledging conference and their full-throated defense of smart development aid amid budget cuts.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($1 billion over five years): they’ve provided steady leadership in GAVI since the beginning, and their new funding has been catalytic—including matching funds tied to Germany’s pledge. They’ve also paved the way for new, smaller contributions from private donors including Absolute Return for Kids and Anglo American PLC.
  • United States ($450 million over three years): In a proud moment for the US, leadership agreed to nearly double current levels of funding for GAVI. They also agreed to host a high-level conference next year to assess progress against achieving impact based on the immunization pledges made today.
  • Australia ($149 million over three years): not a giant number outright, but a dramatic 10-fold increase to be celebrated.
  • France ($146 million over five years): a testament to the power of diplomatic peer pressure, France noted that their recent hosting of the G8 reaffirmed to them the importance of global investments in GAVI
  • Japan ($9 million in 2011): In reaffirming their commitment to GAVI made in September, Japan movingly acknowledged a sense of global solidarity they felt following the tsunami.

For a full breakdown of who committed what, visit GAVI’s website.

Of course, as advocates and legislators know well, pledges made do not always equal money in the bank, and so today marks just the first, critical step in our efforts to improve access to new and underutilized vaccines.

Today we can celebrate, though, after world leaders have affirmed with their pledges what we’ve been campaigning on for months: investing in vaccines for the world’s poorest children is a smart, cost-effective way to save lives.

Thanks to ONE members for your hard work on behalf of this campaign. Stay tuned for more GAVI analysis and commentary from ONE staff in London!

At top: David Cameron, Andrew Mitchell, Bill Gates and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, together with members of the GAVI board