In these challenging times, good news is the last thing we expect, especially when the news has to do with the economic resources available for development cooperation. However, on December 3 the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria closed its inaugural pledging session of the 4th Replenishment drive in Washington DC with a record US$12 billion in firm pledges for the coming three-year period.
So it would seem that the glass is half full, since this amount represents a 30% increase over the firm pledges secured for the 2011-2013 period. However, it falls short of the target US$15 billion set by the Global Fund earlier this year as the minimum budget needed to take decisive steps in the fight against these three diseases.
Although the session yielded some surprises, the pledges of some of the major donors had already been made public at the end of last summer: the United States has pledged US$4 billion and its total contribution could reach US$5 billion if other donors increase their contributions; France has pledged US$1.5 billion, the United Kingdom US$1.6 billion, and the pledges from the Nordic countries came to US$750 million. These contributions not only represent a vital source of funds, they have also played a crucial role in encouraging other donor countries to increase their contributions. Two good examples are Denmark, which increased its pledge by 23% to US$119 million, and Japan, which with US$800 million increased its contribution by 38%.
Spain was officially present at the meeting but has not contributed even a single euro to the Global Fund in the last three years, even failing to make good its pledge of an insignificant contribution of €10 million in 2012. On this occasion, as had been announced in advance, Spain did not pledge to make any financial contribution to the Fund despite the fact that our country was once among the top five donors, with an average annual contribution of US$200 million.
The economic crisis is no excuse for this decision since neighbouring countries are still making large contributions and Spain will also obtain funds (around €5 billion a year) once the Financial Transaction Tax is introduced. What is also clear is that unless we establish, for once and for all, an equitable schedule of mandatory contributions to international bodies based on the GDP of each country, we will never overcome the eternal problem of financing the long-term fight against these pandemics. And let us not delude ourselves: while AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are, in themselves, serious enough global problems to warrant a strong commitment from Spain, in the eyes of international players our virtual disappearance from the Global Fund only serves as further confirmation of the scant relevance of our country on the global stage.
You can see the amounts pledged by each country here.
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