On World AIDS Day, President Obama issued a strong call to action to the global community to join the United States in giving the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria the funds it was promised. And he called upon Congress to “keep the commitments you’ve made intact. At a time when so much in Washington divides us, the fight against this disease has united us across parties and across presidents. And it shows that we can do big things when Republicans and Democrats put their common humanity before politics. So we need to carry that spirit forward.”
President Obama, Secretary Clinton and I have stood firmly behind the historic $4 billion, three-year pledge the Administration made in October 2010 at the Global Fund’s Third Replenishment Conference. We are working hard with Congress to ensure that this pledge is fulfilled. To date, the U.S. Government has met or exceeded our annual pledges to the Global Fund. We must continue this course of action. The consequences of not doing so means fewer lives saved. It’s that simple – and that serious.
In the meantime, we must continue to reform key Global Fund processes so that our investments will yield even greater health returns in the future. There has been a great deal of confusion about the Fund’s action last month regarding Round 11. Let me be clear: The Global Fund remains on track to support more than $8 billion in grant renewals and new grant commitments between now and the end of 2013. These commitments will allow countries to continue and, in many cases, continue to scale up successful programs to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria. The Global Fund will remain a major financier of the fight against the three diseases.
The Global Fund’s Board did take action to transform the Fund’s grant making process. However, this action will NOT impact services currently being provided by the Fund. People getting support will continue to receive it – in fact, the Fund reports that more, not less, people will receive support in the coming year.
So, what will this reform do? It will allow the Fund to transition to a more flexible, sustainable and predictable funding model that will ensure that resources go to high-impact interventions and to people who need the help the most. The Board also took steps to better target Global Fund resources on countries with the greatest need and least ability to pay. This means that G20 countries with Upper Middle Income status and a less-than-extreme disease burden will no longer be eligible for grant renewals and that at least 55% of Global Fund resources will be directed to Low Income countries.
No countries will be forced to suspend any essential services as a result of the decision to make Round 11 a transition round. Existing grantees with grants expiring between January 1, 2012 and March 31, 2014, may apply for up to two years of additional funding if necessary to ensure continuation of essential prevention, treatment and care programs currently financed by the Global Fund.
I firmly believe that the Global Fund will come through this period of transition stronger than ever. But it is up to all of us to share in the goal of strengthening the Fund. No one is off the hook.
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