The European Commission
President of the European Commission
Ursula von der Leyen
CC: Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen – International Partnerships
Commissioner Stella Kyriakides – Health and Food Safety
15 July 2022
Re: The European Commission’s commitment to the 7th Replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Dear President of the European Commission,
We write to you on behalf of Women4GlobalFund (W4GF) Advocates, The Her Voice Fund and Speak Up Africa and we add our support to the letter sent to you today by The ONE Campaign, UNAIDS, and Aidsfonds.
We are global networks of gender equality advocates from more than 62 countries, committed to ensuring that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) programmes are gender-transformative to meet the rights and priorities of women and girls in all our diversity.
As we count down to the pledging conference in September, we are writing to implore you to show your continued leadership in global health by making an early pledge of at least €715 million to the Global Fund 7th Replenishment. This will help to build momentum in the lead-up to the pledging conference and send a powerful signal to other donors to scale up their investments.
As a diverse network of women and girls, we have seized all opportunities to inform HIV, TB and malaria policies, strategies and national responses. We are proud of our contributions to and advocacy toward the new Global Fund strategy (2023 -2028), which prioritizes human rights and gender equality across the three diseases. We could not have achieved this if it were not for strong development policies such as the European Commission’s, which focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), investments aligned with national strategies and in-country partners, health systems strengthening, equitable access to health services, gender equality and human rights.
Your commitment of at least €715 million will move us toward meeting the US$18 billion target, including securing the US$6 billion conditional pledge from the United States of America.
As a founding member of the Global Fund, the European Commission has helped shape an inclusive partnership that engages and supports communities and a country-led funding model. Today, we count ourselves amongst the lives saved and are able to exercise choice over our sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The stakes could not be higher now and we need the European Union to continue the leadership it showed when it co-founded the Global Fund twenty years ago.
Women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected by ill health as a result of AIDS, TB and malaria. Your contribution of € 2.6 billion to the Global Fund has been instrumental in helping to ensure that women and girls, especially those living with HIV and young women in most affected countries, are able to realise their SRHR. We know this because about one third of Global Fund funding directly benefits SRHR, including activities like comprehensive sexuality education, addressing gender-based violence and supporting girls to stay in school. This makes the Global Fund arguably the largest multilateral provider of grants to improve the health and wellbeing of girls and women globally.
The world continues to face numerous complex challenges including global pandemics such as COVID-19 and conflicts. Within these uncertain times the needs of women and girls, especially living with and affected by HIV, TB and malaria must not be forgotten. The last couple of years reminds us that providing health and social services to mitigate the impact of a disease cannot be dissociated from social issues, like gender equality. Gender and social norms influence how services are designed and funded, which in turn impact our ability to access services and to exercise bodily autonomy. Access to quality and equitable health services, food and nutrition security, economic justice, including safety against the violence we experience, remain goals we hope to realize in our lifetime.
Reaching US$18 billion would allow the Global Fund to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women in the most affected countries by 72%. It would save 20 million lives (from 2024-2026) and reduce the mortality rate by 64% across the three diseases by 2026, relative to 2020 levels. We also know that every US$1 invested increases 31-fold and supports health gains and economic returns, further contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.
We are relying on you to keep up the momentum and continue to support gender transformative and affirming approaches in the Global Fund, now and in the future. Inequitable access to health services and commodities exacerbate inequalities and undermine progress made. Failing to commit 30% more than in the 6th Replenishment will jeopardise any gains made and will have devastating impacts for women and girls the world over, including by undermining previous investments made by all donors.
We call on the European Commission to demonstrate your commitment to the European Parliament’s May 2021 resolution to “address AIDS as a global public health crisis and accelerate all efforts to meet the 2025 targets, including through scaling- up investments in UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria”.
We thank you for your leadership and hope for assurances of your highest consideration to this pressing matter of global concern.
Most respectfully and in solidarity,
W4GF is a dynamic global platform of women and gender equality advocates who share a deep commitment to ensuring that Global Fund programmes are gender-transformative to meet the rights and priorities of women and girls in all our diversity. For more information, contact Sophie Dilmitis, Global Coordinator EMAIL | WEB | FACEBOOK | TWITTER
The HER (HIV Epidemic Response) Voice Fund supports the meaningful engagement and leadership of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in decision-making spaces with the aim of reducing HIV incidence and improving our broader health, well-being, and rights. For more information, contact Maximina Jokonya, HER Voice Fund Coordinator, EMAIL, WEB, FACEBOOK, TWITTER
Speak Up Africa is a policy and advocacy action tank dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa. Ensuring health and well-being of all, we support SDGs 1 – 6 in transforming societies throughout Africa. For more information, contact Maelle Ba, Strategic Communications Manager EMAIL | WEB | FACEBOOK | TWITTER
 W4GF advocates in Albania, Argentina, America, Australian, Bangkok, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, China, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.