French contribution to the Global Fund: a zero sum game

On the 2nd of December 2013 at the Global Fund replenishment meeting in Washington DC, donors and implementing countries pledged their support for the fight against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. During this global gathering that  laid out the funding available for the Global fund to fight the 3 major pandemics  Pascal Canfin, French Minister for Development, confirmed  the French contribution known since July of  $ 1,5 billion over the next three years.

If one could have welcomed the maintain of France contribution showing continuous leadership towards global issues even during tough financial time this announcement needs to be put in the current context.  While France announced its flat contribution, most of the traditional donors increased theirs.  As a results France is likely to lose its seat as the 2nd donor of the GF that will be proudly taken up by United Kingdom a country on the path of reaching the 0,7% of GNI going to ODA.  Moreover, behind this maintain France is actually decreasing its financial effort.

Let’s analyse briefly what is at stake here:

After two years of debate, France established in 2012 a national Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) and announced 10% of revenue would be allocated to development. Thus, in addition to traditionel ODA budget lines, France will contribute € 60 million to global health.

France would maintain its contribution to the Global Fund for 2014-2016 only thanks to new revenues from the revaluation of the air tax levy and the FTT. It was a relief for many experts and activists. But with a decrease of more than 6% in ODA in 2014, the use of innovative financing only compensate the massive budget cuts. Indeed the core contributions to the Global Fund decrease from € 300 million in 2013 to € 217 million in 2014. Any additional government financing is no longer on the agenda.

This is what we call a zero sum game and a important disillusion for patients and populations affected by the diseases