Statement from Friend of the Global Fund Europe

21 September, 2022


What kind of world do we want to leave to our children?
The urgency of immediate, forceful and collective action


The Covid-19 pandemic, deadly floods in Pakistan, uncontrollable wildfires in Europe, rampant deforestation in the Amazon, famine in Yemen and Somalia, war in Ukraine, an energy crisis in Europe, and the list goes on. These are dark days for the world, besieged by countless global challenges, with no indication that the suffering endured by so many living beings on our planet will be alleviated any time soon.

Despite persistent warnings about the emergence of new health threats, Covid-19 took the world by surprise. The emergency response implemented by the international community to support the poorest countries and the most vulnerable populations revealed glaring inequalities in access to tests, treatments and vaccines, clearly demonstrating its limits in terms of governance and solidarity. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic undermined the progress made over the past two decades in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This global crisis has exposed patent flaws in our global health policies, which remain underdeveloped in a world where health threats know no borders and are likely to haunt us for years to come.

Preventing and combating current and future pandemics can only be a collective endeavour by policy makers and scientific experts, civil society and the communities directly affected by the diseases, not to mention international organizations: everyone has a role to play.

Only a governance structure that includes all stakeholders can provide access to health services for the most remote populations and those excluded from care. And only by implementing a cross-cutting approach to health can we move forward and achieve the goal set by the international community: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” [1]. Human health is affected by a number of decisive factors such as education, environment, culture, economic status and gender. Moreover, it is inextricably linked to the health of animals and ecosystems. This connection became clear in the past with HIV and Ebola; today, Covid-19 provides further proof.

Only a broad, collective and inclusive approach with respect for all stakeholders can impart a fair vision of the decisions to be taken and the responses to be provided in our efforts not only to achieve the objectives set for human health, but also to imagine true planetary health.

This has been the focus of the Global Fund since its creation. The organisation has brought governments, civil society representatives and communities affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria to the table and into the decision-making process. It fights against diseases and works to remove obstacles that prevent access to care for the most vulnerable populations and those suffering from discrimination. In the Global Fund’s 20-year history, its efforts have saved 50 million lives and reduced the combined mortality rate of the three diseases by more than half in the countries where it operates.

Despite these investment-worthy results, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in less than a decade remains a tall order. Today, Heads of State and Government are scheduled to meet at the Global Fund Replenishment Conference in New York under the auspices of President Joe Biden.

The Global Fund has estimated that at least $18 billion will be needed for the 2023-2025 period to fight against the three diseases, strengthen health systems and help the world prepare for future pandemics. The United States has pledged $6 billion to the Global Fund provided that total contributions from other donors reach $12 billion. Germany, Japan and Luxembourg have responded to the appeal by increasing their respective contributions by 30%.

Friends of the Global Fund Europe calls on European Heads of State and Government as well as the European Commission to follow their example. Europe’s very credibility is at stake: how can we ask other countries to join this partnership and strengthen multilateral cooperation if we are not capable of keeping the promises we have made as partners? Success in this initiative is of vital importance: it will be a sign that the world can emerge from these crises, with sufficient funding, but above all thanks to common sense, international solidarity and the political will to reach beyond our own national, regional and continental borders so that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren inherit a world where they can grow and thrive.

[1] SDG3: Good health and well-being


Katarina Barley, Vice-president of the EU Parliament, former German Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, former German Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

Christoph Benn, Director for Global Health Diplomacy at the Joep Lange Institute and former Director of External Relations of the Global Fund

Patrice Debré, Professor of Immunology, former French Ambassador in charge of AIDS and other contagious diseases

Charles Goerens, former Minister of Cooperation in Luxembourg, Member of the European Parliament

Michel Goldman, founder of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation (I3h) at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Richard Horton, Editor-in-chief of The Lancet

Michel Kazatchkine, Special Advisor to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), former Executive Director of the Global Fund

Lesley-Anne Long, President & CEO at GBC Health

Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Director of research policy at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

Neven Mimica, former European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development

Stephen O’Brien, KBE, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom

Leire Pajin Iraola, former Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, former Spanish Minister for Health, Social Policy and Equality

Andris Piebalgs, former Secretary of State for European Affairs in Latvia, former European Commissioner for Development

Guido Schmidt-Traub, Partner at SYSTEMIQ

Robert Sebbag, Expert in public health, France

Bruno Spire, medical doctor, Researcher and senior scientist at the French National Institute for Medical Research (INSERM), former President of the French NGO AIDES

Beatrijs Stikkers, policy and strategy advisor, Board Secretary of the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Netherlands

Timo Ulrichs, Microbiologist and immunologist specialized in tuberculosis, founder of the Koch-Metchnikov Forum, Germany

Stefano Vella, Adjunct Professor of Global Health, Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome, Italy

Laurent Vigier, former Senior Advisor to the President of the French Republic on multilateral/G8 Matters

Louis-Charles Viossat, former French ambassador in charge of the fight against AIDS and transmissible diseases, former deputy director and social advisor to the Prime Minister’s office

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, former Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany