A Promise Renewed – Start with Fulfilling Pledges to the GAVI Alliance

In June 2011, ACTION was thrilled to announce the overwhelming donor support for the GAVI Alliance, mobilizing an additional $4.3 billion – bringing the total to $7.6 billion – which would immunize 250 million children and prevent 4 million future deaths by 2015. Later this year at the Mid-Term Review, donors, global partners and GAVI-eligible countries will gather to reflect on progress and challenges towards achieving their ambitious goals.

David Cameron at the GAVI Pledging Conference in 2011

Photo Credit: Ben Fisher/GAVI/2011 

Momentum for child health has built steadily since GAVI’s pledging conference in 2011 through the Child Survival Call to Action, a Family Planning summit, the launch of numerous action plans, and most recently a movement to address child malnutrition. While this momentum is exciting, I’m reminded that advocates don’t only mobilize pledges, but also ensure those pledges are delivered.

Our work isn’t over yet.

In order for GAVI to be able to deliver on its goals, advocates must ensure that donor governments deliver on their pledges by converting promises into disbursements, and that GAVI-eligible countries fulfill their co-financing obligations.

ACTION has been busy to ensure this goal is achieved. Our advocacy partners in Japan have been busy engaging with the government to mobilize additional support to the GAVI Alliance as a new donor. As a result, Japan has made annual contributions since their first pledge in 2011. In the United States, building off of a 3 year, $450 million pledge, US advocates have worked tirelessly to convert the pledge into annual disbursements – to be fulfilled by FY14. And in the European Union, ACTION partners GHA France and RESULTS UK are frontloading advocacy efforts to impact the EC’s next 7 year budget – hopefully with ambitious support for GAVI and child health.

According to recent Board documents, we still have work to do. Fifty-six of the sixty-five countries (86%) that are required to co-finance their vaccines are on track. Of the donor resources pledged, 89% have been converted into signed agreements, leaving $500 million left to be secured. Given shifts in political and economic environment in some donor countries, like France, securing commitments made in June 2011 may be tricky.  Converting pledges into commitments is not only a matter of accountability, but is vital to GAVI’s ability to meet its goals.

In addition, some donors have yet to pledge through GAVI’s full strategic plan to 2015, and elections could impact over half of GAVI’s donor base. As with all global health institutions, long-term predictable financing is paramount. ACTION partners in Australia, Japan, EU and the US are working around the clock to ensure continued support for the GAVI Alliance even prior to their next pledging conference in late 2014 or early 2015.

Investing in GAVI is a smart foreign aid decision which has been reaffirmed by donor evaluations in the UK in 2011, Sweden and Australia in 2012, and MOPAN in 2013, and through top-up pledges announced since June 2011. Furthermore, GAVI has worked hard to ensure that they can do more with donor resources already secured, announcing a 31% price reduction in the average cost to immunize a child with pentavalent, pneumococcal, and rotavirus vaccines.

To really renew our promise to children, let’s start with delivering on promises made to the GAVI Alliance.

(All statistics have been taken from GAVI’s June Board Meeting documents).