Friends on the Frontline Fourth Quarter 2013

In the Spirit of the Celebratory Season

A Message from Deb Derrick, President of Friends of the Global Fight

Before we disembark for the holidays — and coming off of one of the busiest times for the Global Fund and Friends of the Global Fight — I wanted to “press pause;” taking a moment to not only appreciate but celebrate the astonishing efforts of the past few months.

Earlier this month, on the heels of World AIDS Day, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held its Fourth Voluntary Replenishment conference in Washington, D.C. There, donors announced their commitments to the organization for 2014 to 2016. The news was thrilling. President Obama made an unprecedented U.S. commitment and the collective efforts of the Global Fund, its partners and advocates resulted in the largest financial pledge ever made in the fight against these three diseases. Together, 25 donor and implementing countries, private foundations and companies pledged $12 billion to the Global Fund. This is a 30 percent increase over hard commitments secured at the last replenishment meeting in 2010, and it will translate directly into more lives saved.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, the United Kingdom and several Nordic countries pledged a significant increase in funding — committing approximately $1.6 billion and $750 million, respectively. Italy also rejoined the ranks of Global Fund backers. For the first time ever, Mexico became a donor. In addition, this year marked a significant trend in increased domestic investment by several African nations, highlighting the efforts of implementing countries to take a greater leadership role in fighting the three diseases on the ground. The Republic of Korea — a Global Fund grantee as well as a donor — doubled its commitment, pledging $6 million.

The private sector played an important role as well. Companies such as Chevron and BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities made commitments. Other corporations, such as Eli Lilly, are developing innovative partnerships with the Global Fund. In addition, (RED) raised $40 million and Indonesia’s Tahir Foundation committed $65 million over five years — an amount matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

These announcements have set the stage for a successful, multiyear replenishment effort that will continue into 2014 and beyond. The New Year promises to be an exciting one, with this continued global resource mobilization effort, the Global Fund’s new funding model expanding from early applicants to all grantees, and growing engagement from implementing countries, the private sector and civil society. There will be much to do and, no doubt, much to report.

In the meantime, I wish you all the happiest of holidays and thank you for your continued support of Friends of the Global Fight!

A View from the Hill

There is much action related to the Global Fund to report on this quarter.

On November 13, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him to set a new goal, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), to double the number of people currently on antiretrovirals to 12 million by the end FY16. They also urged the Administration to work diligently toward ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 40 Members of Congress.

Shortly thereafter, Congress passed the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013 with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill extends certain provisions of PEPFAR as well as the 33 percent cap on U.S. contributions to the Global Fund. President Obama signed the bill into law on December 2, during the White House observation of World AIDS Day. At the same time, he reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to remaining a global leader in the fight against AIDS.

In the lead-up to the Global Fund’s replenishment conference in December, Friends worked closely with Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, spear-heading various activities to increase support for the Global Fund. Dr. Dybul met with key Members of Congress and the Administration to emphasize the importance of the United States’ contribution to the Global Fund in leveraging resources from other donors. He noted that the U.K’s pledge was a clear example of this leverage in action: the U.K. was spurred to increase its pledge after the Obama Administration requested $1.65 billion for the Global Fund and House and Senate appropriators each endorsed that same, record funding level.

Then, during the replenishment meetings, the U.S. gave further unprecedented support for the Global Fund. President Obama announced that the U.S. Administration will commit $4 billion to the Global Fund for the replenishment period 2014 to 2016 — plus an additional $1 billion through a challenge grant — for a total commitment of up to $5 billion. Under this challenge grant, the U.S. will contribute $1 for every $2 committed by international donors through September 2014. This marks a potential $1 billion increase from the Administration’s previous pledge to the Global Fund for 2010-2013.

Friends was particularly pleased that the President personally delivered this news, but we were also pleased by subsequent endorsements of the Global Fund by Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

Finally, and on the broader budget front, Congressional leaders reached a two-year bipartisan budget compromise on December 10 to prevent another federal government shutdown. The deal sets top-line numbers for FY14 and FY15 that allow the Appropriations Committee to fund U.S. government programs through the regular, annual appropriations process for an entire fiscal year. This mitigates the short-term, continuing resolutions which have been the practice in recent years and which have proved challenging for long-term program planning. The deal was then approved by the House on December 12 and was passed by the Senate on Dec. 18. The Appropriations Committee will now begin the process of writing legislation to extend the FY14 Continuing Resolution through the end of the current fiscal year, September 30, 2014.

Donors Save Lives: Namibia Picks up the Mantle
H.E. Dr. Richard Kamwi, Namibia's Minister of Health , touts the proven success of the Global Fund in helping implementing countries like Namibia take control of their national responses to AIDS, TB and malaria. (Photo © Lexey Swall/Getty Images)
H.E. Dr. Richard Kamwi, Namibia’s Minister of Health, touts the proven success of the Global Fund in helping implementing countries like Namibia take control of their national responses to AIDS, TB and malaria. (Photo © Lexey Swall/Getty Images)

More than 20 years ago, HIV/AIDS was taking a devastating toll in Namibia. Prevalence peaked in 2002, when nearly a quarter of the adult population was HIV-positive. That all changed when the Global Fund, PEPFAR and other external donor resources poured into the country in the early 2000s. These investments helped stem the AIDS crisis and allowed Namibia to shore up its health system.

Today, more than 80 percent of people with HIV in Namibia have access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, more than 90 percent of pregnant women are tested and treated, and AIDS-related deaths and HIV-incidence have fallen by more than half. To build on this progress, the country laid out a National Strategic Framework to prioritize and set targets for prevention, treatment, behavior change and support for marginalized populations.

Despite its high disease burden, and as an upper-middle-income country, Namibia has already absorbed a portion of its own health costs. At a recent event held during the Global Fund’s Fourth Voluntary Replenishment Conference in Washington, D.C., Dr. Richard Kamwi, Namibia’s Minister of Health and Social Services, proudly announced that the Namibian government now funds 60 percent of the national response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

International donors are still heavily invested in the country, but the nature of those investments is changing. Today, external funding accounts for less than half of the total resources for the HIV response.

For more examples of how the Global Fund is working to help countries take control of these diseases, read Friends of the Global Fight’s Steps toward Sustainability report.

Highlights from the Fight

Below are a few resources where you can learn more about the work of Friends of the Global Fight and the opportunities before us to defeat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria:

  • In the September issue of PSI’s Impact Magazine, Deb Derrick talks about why now is critical moment in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
  • Nothing But Nets blog post highlights strides being made to shrink the malaria map, including success in recent vaccine trials.
  • Friends’ Board chair, Jonathan Klein, writes about his admiration for Nelson Mandela and how it inspired his own efforts to defeat HIV/AIDS in South Africa and around the world in Forbes.com.
  • As part of a series of articles in the The Huffington Post coinciding with the United Nation’s General Assembly, Friends highlights the Global Fund’s efforts to target high-risk populations, thus helping to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and save more lives.
  • A summary of Friends’ event with renowned economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs was covered on the Making Malaria History blog.
  • Deb Derrick offers some timely Thanksgiving gratitude while encouraging the world to mobilize resources and ensure long-term, sustainable solutions in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
  • United Nations Secretary-General’s MDG Advocate & Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers highlights the Global Fund’s role in a historic malaria net initiative in The Hill.
  • On December 11, the World Health Organization released the World Malaria Report 2013.

This post was originally published in December 2013.