Public and private donors have committed a total of $4.3 billion to support the work of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization through 2015. This exceeded the $3.7 billion funding target set by the organization for its first pledging conference, which was held June 13 in the United Kingdom.
The total pledges include 814 million pounds ($1.32 billion) from the United Kingdom, $1 billion from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $677 million from Norway, and $450 million from the United States. Australia, Canada and the European Union also announced increases in their commitments to GAVI, while Brazil and Japan have for the first time pledged money for the organization.
Meantime, GAVI’s biggest corporate donor, Spain’s la Caixa Foundation, promised to extend its financial commitment. Two companies, Anglo-American PLC and Absolute Return for Kids, also pledged to donate money to GAVI through the United Kingdom’s new matching donation program.
GAVI said the pledges it raised at the conference will allow it to immunize more than 200 million children in some of the world’s poorest countries and prevent more than 4 million premature deaths by 2015.
“Today’s pledges bring GAVI’s total available resources for the period 2011 to 2015 to $ 7.6 billion,” the organization said in a news release dated June 13. “The increased support is timely. GAVI recently reported a record 50 countries applied for vaccine funding during the Alliance’s latest application round – nearly double the previous record in 2007. This new support will allow GAVI to fully fund approved applications.”
A list of key pledges made at the conference is available below.
Development experts, non-governmental organizations and campaign groups welcomed the pledges announced at the GAVI conference, lauding donors for their support for what they described as one of the more successful initiatives to address health concerns in developing countries.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, in particular, received praise for his country’s significant contribution to GAVI, with at least one expert noting that “this may be the best 814 million [pounds] Cameron will spend all year.”
Anti-poverty campaign group ONE, meanwhile, applauded the United States’ commitment and urged the U.S. Congress to make the pledge a reality. The country’s pledge is conditional on congressional allocation, according to U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah.
However, despite their praise for GAVI and its donors, some NGOs have argued that the alliance needs reforms to make its work even more effective.
Oxfam International and Medecins Sans Frontieres have identified three steps they said they hope to see GAVI undertake:
- Be more transparent about the prices it pays for the vaccines it uses.
- Be more forceful and use competition to secure more price reduction deals.
- Urge pharmaceutical companies to step down from its board to clear out all issues of conflict of interest.
Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders – emailed to you FREE every business day.