Global Fund Replenishment: Despite the Challenges, We Must Step Up the Fight


*This article was originally published in French on Transverse.

The Global Fund raises and invests nearly $4 billion a year in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. It helps save 27 million lives and provides prevention, treatment, and care to hundreds of millions of people. As a collective of grantmakers funding the fight against HIV/AIDS, Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) knows well how essential the Global Fund is and how effective its resources have been in fueling progress.

To date, the private sector has contributed over $2.7 billion to the Global Fund. In addition to financial resources, the private sector also has provided invaluable technical expertise in key areas such as strengthening supply chains and providing innovative solutions to tracking health data.

Despite all this, we must remember that the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment effort – which seeks to mobilize a minimum of $14 billion – is occurring in the midst of a challenging funding environment.

The current leadership in the United States – historically the largest contributor to the Global Fund – has shown little appetite to support global health and development. In fact, in the President’s 2019 budget, the Trump Administration proposed large cuts to global health programs, including contributions to the Global Fund. Perhaps of even greater concern are ill-informed U.S. policies, such as the reinstated and expanded Global Gag Rule, which pose real barriers to progress.

But there is good news. Despite the Trump Administration’s resistance, the Global Fund continues to receive strong support among U.S. policy makers in Congress. In May, the House Appropriations Committee passed a funding bill that would increase U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to $1.56 billion. If enacted, this would be the first increase in six years.

Successful Replenishment, though, is not guaranteed. The contributions of private philanthropy, though only 2% of global resources for HIV/AIDS, can be catalytic. Advocacy, arguably the biggest lever to help mobilize the fight against HIV and AIDS, is largely funded from private resources. It is going to take the concerted effort of many groups to get the U.S. and other governments to increase their pledges. Therefore, one of the single most important things the private sector can do to support Global Fund Replenishment is to fund advocacy.

With more than three decades in the fight, FCAA remembers the HIV/AIDS landscape before the Global Fund. We have seen first hand the difference it has made in mobilizing and deploying resources at the right time, in the right places, and at the necessary scale. We know the enormous risk the world faces if it does not receive the resources it needs. Therefore, we ask the private sector and all donors to Step Up the Fight.