Guest Blog Post: Kasia Lemanska, Aidsfonds
The next few months will be crucial for the future of EU development policy and EU’s support for health: the long-term budget of the EU (Multiannual Financial Framework) is being negotiated and will determine the level of resources made available for health, including global initiatives. In view of this process, the timing of the next Global Fund replenishment poses a challenge. Indeed, the EU’s next pledge will be drawn from two Multiannual Financial Frameworks: the present one, which runs until 2020, and the following, which starts in 2021.
The rationale behind an early pledge
However, amidst Brexit uncertainty, no one can safely say whether the EU will be able to finalize its budget negotiations before the next EU elections, in May 2019. This is of direct importance to the Global Fund replenishment as the elections will result in the appointment of a new European Commission. The newly formed EC will not become operational before October 2019, thus not before the Pledging Conference in Lyon. It is of course too early to say who the new Commissioner for development will be, and whether he or she will be familiar with the work of the Global Fund or convinced of the necessity to back it with EU funding. This is why Global Health Advocates and Aidsfonds, with the support of GFAN, have released a policy paper calling on the outgoing Commissioner for development, Neven Mimica, to make an early pledge to the Fund, before the EU elections. We believe that an early pledge by the Commission would build momentum leading up to the pledging conference by galvanizing other European donors to scale up their investments.
A fair ask
What we are asking from the EU is in line with GFAN’s Get Back on Track to End the Epidemics report: a 22% increase compared to current levels of pledges, which would bring EU’s fair share to €580 million. Despite the budgetary constraints linked to Brexit, we do not think this is too ambitious given the task ahead. GFAN, the Global Fund, UNAIDS, WHO and other global health actors all ring the same alarm: an increase of resources is needed in order to sustain and revitalize the global response to end AIDS, TB and Malaria, and get us on track to meet the SDGs. Additionally, for the EU, €580 million, in view of its total ODA, does not represent much. Yet, pledging that amount, before the elections, would make a difference. First and foremost, for the people affected by the three diseases, as the Global Fund substantially contributes to their ending. It would also benefit the EU, as we contend that investing in the Global Fund contributes to EU’s own priorities: health systems strengthening and UHC, leave no one behind, gender, youth, health security, and domestic resource mobilization to name a few.
What we need now is Europe’s leadership and we hope that GFAN’s community will strengthen our efforts by integrating the EU perspective in their national advocacy.
Link to the policy paper: http://aidsfonds.org/resource/policy-paper-why-the-eu-should-make-an-early-pledge-to-the-global-fund