"What we have seen today is an unprecedented mobilization for global health," said Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund, in New York.
“We are talking about 14.2 billion US dollars, without two of the largest donors to the Fund, whose pledges we expect in due course,” he added, referring to Italy and the United Kingdom.
"We will surely be around 16 billion, that will not be the objective set", calculated the president of the French association Aides, Camille Spire, present in New York.
"On the ground, this will mean fewer screening campaigns, less treatment, less funding for community health centers than was hoped for," she told AFP, saying she was "angry" .
"While some count their pennies, some count the dead," she added, stressing that "every year 650,000 people die of AIDS."
- "Illusive" -
“The objective of ending the three pandemics by 2030 seems illusory,” warned Florence Thune, CEO of Sidaction, in a press release.
The event was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, in the presence of US President Joe Biden, who hailed "extraordinary contributions".
It was the largest "bailout" ever requested by the organization, in an economic context complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the food and energy crises caused by the war in Ukraine.
Some countries had recently made encouraging promises – including 1.3 billion from Germany, after 6 billion from the United States and 1.08 billion from Japan. France gave 1.6 billion.
"The 18 billion target is based on the need to get us back on track to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030, regaining the ground lost during the Covid pandemic", had declared to AFP Françoise Vanni, spokesperson for the Global Fund. And thus "save no less than 20 million lives over the next three years".
The Global Fund was established in 2002 and brings together governments, multilateral agencies, civil society groups and the private sector to fight these three killer diseases, with funding cycles typically over three years.
The total of 18 billion requested represented 30% more than what was raised during the last "replenishment" conference, held in 2019 in France, during which 14 billion had been raised - then already a record.
Last week, the organization announced that it had helped save 50 million lives over the past 20 years.
- Setbacks linked to the pandemic -
The Global Fund provides 76% of international financing against tuberculosis and a third of the means committed worldwide against AIDS.
Last year the organization warned of the "devastating" impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its work, having led to an unprecedented setback since its inception in the fight against the three diseases.
Covid-19 has severely disrupted access to health systems in many countries, with significant declines in HIV testing and prevention services for vulnerable populations, or a sharp decrease in the number of people tested and treated for tuberculosis.
Thus, the number of people dying from tuberculosis increased in 2020 for the first time in a decade, with 1.5 million deaths, making it the second deadliest infectious disease in the world, behind Covid-19. .
In the same year, the number of HIV-positive people receiving antiretroviral treatment increased by 9%.
But signs of "recovery" are observed, according to the Fund, thanks to the massively committed resources.
For example, the number of people in contact with HIV prevention services has started to increase again.
By law of the US Congress, the United States cannot provide more than one-third of Global Fund funding -- a limit that is intended to encourage investment from other nations.