Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today’s gathering of leaders from across the world is a powerful signal. Because to most people, no issue is more important than health and well-being. This is why I am so grateful to you, Mr President, dear Joe, for hosting this pledging event.
We all know that global cooperation and solidarity are vital to end these diseases. The European Union has always been a strong supporter of the Global Fund from the very start. And how much we have achieved together. We heard it already. Back in 2002, an HIV diagnosis was in most cases a death sentence. And millions died from tuberculosis and malaria. If you think about 2002, it is not so long ago. But thanks to the initiatives like this Global Fund, it feels like a distant past. Today, millions of people are receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment. We can cure tuberculosis. We can prevent malaria. We can fight these terrible diseases. So we will end AIDS, we will end tuberculosis, we will end malaria – once and for all. This must be our pledge altogether.
Yet, as the pandemic has shown, prevention is key. COVID-19 not only caused millions of deaths around the world, it also had a devastating impact on our health systems, especially in low-income countries. I therefore welcome the prospect of the Global Fund to work even harder on the resilience of health systems. The Fund’s commitment to foster local production of medicines and health products is an important step in this direction. This ties in with investment by the European Union in support of local production in Africa – we spoke about it – and in Latin America. And we will complement these efforts with our upcoming EU Global Health Strategy.
Now, Justin, you set the bar high, 30%. I am proud to pledge another increase of 30%, from the European Union, with EUR 715 million. This will bring the overall pledge of Team Europe – that is the European Union, the Commission and the Member States – to over EUR 4.3 billion. Thanks to you. This is money well invested in a healthier, safer and more equitable future for all. And I am sure, Mr President, dear Joe, that this pledging event today further strengthens the global cooperation we need in these days.