MORE OUTCOMES OF THE ABUJA+12 SUMMNew malaria intelligence gathering unit for 10 hardest-hit African countries
The Malaria Situation Room, a joint initiative that will provide critical malaria intelligence in support of ten African countries, was launched at the just concluded special African Union (AU) Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Situation Room is spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, together with the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Malaria, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The initiative offers urgent, strategic support to the 10 hardest-hit countries in Africa – Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Niger- as they strive to achieve the health-related MDGs and ambitious RBM targets of a 75% reduction in the number of new malaria cases, and near-zero malaria deaths before the end of 2015.
A central element of the 2001 Abuja Declaration was the commitment to allocate at least 15% of public expenditures to health by 2015. Over the last five years, health spending in Africa has risen by about 10% annually. However, spending is still nowhere near where it needs to be – just six AU member states (Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Togo, and Zambia) have achieved the 15% Abuja target, and an additional US$ 31 billion is required to close the funding gap.
THE GLOBAL FUND’S 4TH CALL FRANCE PLEDGES $1.4B
France has announced that it will contribute € 1.08 billion ($1.4 billion) to the Global Fund for the Fourth Replenishment period (2014-2016). That works out to about $467 million a year. This approximately the same as the amount France pledged for the Third Replenishment (2011-2013).
There had been fears that France would lower its contribution. However, in recent months, France tried to dispel these fears (see GFO article).
France is the largest European contributor to the Global Fund. Globally, France is second only to the US, which pledged about $4.0 billion for the Third Replenishment.
“Despite having to make difficult budgetary adjustments in many areas, France has made the right choice in maintaining its strong commitment to this critical fight,” said Mireille Guigaz, Vice-Chair of the Global Fund Board and France’s former Ambassador for the fight against HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases.
Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul said President François Hollande was showing strong leadership in reaffirming France’s financial backing for the Global Fund. “France has for years tirelessly defended the Global Fund’s founding values, which emphasize the key role played by communities affected by the diseases, by civil society and by recipient governments.”
It is expected that up to 5% of France’s pledge will be earmarked for capacity-building activities in Francophone countries aimed at improving the effectiveness and health impact of Global Fund grants. France started this practice in 2011.
UN WOMEN APPOINTS SOUTH AFRICA’S PHUMZILE MLAMBO-NGCUKA AS NEW HEAD
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has welcomed the appointment of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, an African woman as the new Executive Director of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women).
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka was appointed on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to head the UN agency principally responsible for the global advancement of gender equality and women’s rights.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma hailed the appointment and described it as “square peg in a square hole”, given Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s rich credentials, resolute activism and long standing advocacy for the rights of women. According to Dr. Dlamini Zuma, the appointment of Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka is the recognition of the role that African women have played in women’s emancipation. “It gives our continent an opportunity to provide global leadership in the achievement of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment!” Dr. Dlamini Zuma remarked.
According to the AUC Chairperson, this appointment presents both opportunities and challenges as UN Women is expected to deliver gender equality and women’s empowerment in a holistic approach to achieve progress in every sphere of human endeavour within a context of fast changing environment.
A former Deputy President of South Africa, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka is the second Executive Director of UN Women, since its establishment by the UN General Assembly in 2010. She takes over from Michelle Bachellet who returns to her home country, Chile to run for the Presidency.