Global Fund Replenishment Conference (2014-16)
Global Fund Board Chair,
Global Fund Executive Director,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,
First, on behalf of France, I want to express once again our sorrow and solidarity following the tragic derailment in New York, which took the lives of four people and caused many injuries.
Leaving the White House a little while ago, I was thinking about the progress we’ve made in fighting pandemics over the past 15 years.
AIDS treatments already existed 15 years ago, but the South did not have access to them and the pandemic was flourishing.
My country was the first to demand access to treatment for patients in both North and South. Other countries, including a number of major ones, joined us. And we achieved a victory in this major battle for human rights. The Global Fund truly facilitated a large-scale change in preventing pandemics and ensuring access to treatments.
That battle was fought by men and women who deserve our praise today. I’m thinking in particular of civil society activists in both North and South, who sounded the alarm and did not wait for governments to take action. I’m thinking, too, of the caregivers, whose total commitment – often in conditions that remain difficult – I have observed during my on-site visits. Thanks to them, the unthinkable has become possible. I want to thank them for their mobilization and for their perseverance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Very early on, France was one of the most active countries in the Global Fund, and wishes to remain so. President François Hollande announced last July that France would maintain its annual contribution to the Global Fund at its highest level. That means 1.08 billion euros, or nearly 1.5 billion dollars, for the next three years.
Since 2002, France has allocated more than 4 billion dollars to fighting major pandemics through the Global Fund, UNITAID, and bilateral programs. Since the Global Fund was established, we’ve been its second-largest contributor, and the leading European contributor.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are now entering a new phase in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, consisting of making a sustainable contribution and finally ending these three pandemics.
Scientific progress allows us to access increasingly effective compounds and diagnostic methods. The prospect of an “AIDS-free generation” is becoming a possibility. The number of malaria cases has significantly declined. The fight against tuberculosis calls for renewed efforts to overcome the resistance that we’re seeing.
I would like to highlight two challenges in the phase ahead: discrimination and the performance of health systems.
Even though considerable progress has been made, the fight against discrimination must be a priority. In terms of access to treatment there is discrimination against people living with HIV, discrimination against vulnerable populations and sexual minorities. The most vulnerable groups are often at greatest risk of exposure to pandemics. France is therefore particularly vigilant and demanding in this respect.
Furthermore, the impact of the Global Fund will be greater if the health systems of the beneficiary countries are strong. Increased investment in healthcare by the recipient countries is essential in order to make progress. In return, the international donors have a responsibility to complement the efforts of the Global Fund and to help the recipient countries design and implement the programs funded by the Global Fund.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I was born in 1974 and I’m too young to remember a world without AIDS. The progress we’ve made over the last 10 years gives us hope that we may be able to control pandemics and, in the future, defeat them.
I was in Benin last weekend, where I had the opportunity to visit a treatment center for HIV-infected mothers. The excellent work of this health center’s team has allowed 200 babies of HIV-positive mothers to be born HIV-free and therefore to live a normal life with their mothers.
The prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is one of the most beautiful symbols of the extraordinary challenge that lies ahead: the hope that one day an HIV-free generation might be possible.
A little more than half a century ago, President Kennedy outlined the ambitious goal of putting a man on the moon. In the meantime, this dream became a reality. Let’s now dream of a world without AIDS, without tuberculosis and without malaria and let’s give ourselves the means to achieve that. We will then have taken another giant leap for mankind.