Big news: World leaders pledge $12 billion to AIDS, TB and malaria

You’ve been at it for almost a year now: sending postcards, signing petitions, making phone calls, hosting dance parties and more.  All of this in support of The Global Fund’s replenishment—one of the most important moments of the year in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria.

And your hard work paid off. World leaders pledged just over $12 billion over the next three years, a 30 percent increase over the amount raised by The Global Fund at its last replenishment.

In these tough economic times, that’s a huge victory worth celebrating. With these new resources, The Global Fund will be able to scale up its important work, supporting partners to deliver even more ARVs, bed nets, TB treatments and other life-saving programs.

I’m proud to announce that many of the governments we lobbied delivered on their promises. President Obama publicly announced the US will contribute one-third of all resources over the next three years—exactly what US ONE members had asked for.

ONE’s Europe Executive Director Adrian Lovett (L) and UK Campaign Manager Saira O’Mallie (R) deliver a LEGO message to UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening (C). Photo: Department for International Development

Minister Justine Greening of the UK reaffirmed their commitment to double its contribution to £1 billion, and Canada increased its contribution by 20 percent—again, exactly what British and Canadian ONE members campaigned for.

France held flat, but is the third largest contributor to The Fund (now just slightly surpassed by the UK, in a friendly bit of European competition acknowledged by representatives from both countries).

The EU increased its contribution, despite an overall flat aid budget, to €370 million.

And a few noteworthy contributions came in from middle-income donors, including China, India and Mexico, as well as from a number of African countries, including Nigeria, Namibia and Kenya.

Donors from the private and philanthropic sectors stepped up in new and creative ways, too. The Gates Foundation continued its generous support of the Fund, committing up to $500 million – $300 million previously announced and up to $200 million in new money that will be used to match other donor commitments. (RED) made its first pledge of $40 million by 2015, and they’re off to a great start based on a fabulous auction they hosted a few weeks ago in NYC.

Unfortunately, when the pledging wrapped up yesterday, The Global Fund had raised just over $12 billion dollars—nearly $3 billion short of its target.  Included in that shortfall is nearly $1 billion left unmatched from the US, which by law, cannot contribute more than one-third of the global total. Though they pledged to do up to $5 billion, as of right now, they can only commit $4 billion (one-third of $12 billion). More to come on that.

And a few donors didn’t step up in the ways we had hoped. In particular, Japan and Australia each came in more than $100 million below what was expected of them, although Japan remains a very significant contributor at $800 million. Germany, because of the timing of its recent election cycle, was also not able to announce an increase, and remained flat at $800 million. More to come on these countries, too.

So, where do we go from here? 

I know you might be exhausted from months of Global Fund campaigning (I certainly feel that way!), but it’s time to collectively drink a few Red Bulls, because the work isn’t over yet.

The Fund’s Executive Director, Mark Dybul, was careful to call the replenishment meeting a “launch” of the replenishment cycle—this means that we can continue fundraising over the full 3-year cycle (2014 to 2016) to bring in new resources.

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ONE Germany members in action

In particular, we’ll have eyes on Germany (which hosts the 2015 G8 Summit), Australia (which hosts the 2014 International AIDS Conference and the G20 Summit), and the private sector, with hopes that each of them can contribute additional resources in the coming years. Doing so would increase The Global Fund’s total exponentially, as it would help to unlock more of the US’ matching commitment, too.

But for today, let’s take a moment to appreciate the fantastic increase from donors that ONE members and our many partners helped to secure together. 

With these new resources, The Global Fund will remain the strongest tool we have in the fight against these three preventable, killer diseases—and millions more people will be enabled to live long and healthy lives. That’s a “good news” story worth telling.