French health minister Agnes Buzyn called on world leaders and other donors to "intensify" their engagement to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to send a "strong and ambitious signal".
She said this in her opening speech at the 6th Replenishment Investment Conference, organised by the Global Fund Forum in Lyon, France on Wednesday and Thursday.
The conference aims to raise funds to combat these deadly diseases and condemn them to the history books.
The Global Fund Forum aims to save 16 million lives within the next four years as well as averting 234 million infections worldwide.
It hopes to do this by raising €12 billion from international governments, companies and individual donors.
"I am counting on each of you to raise the necessary funds to enable the Global Fund to support the most affected countries (by the three deadly diseases)," said the minister at the start of the conference that aims to raise funds for the 2020-2022 period.
“We are united here to send a strong signal, a collective signal,” Buzyn continued.
However, not all believe the target of €12 billion can be reached.
The French association against HIV/AIDS, Aides, told the AFP that the 12 billion objective was not yet “achievable”.
In a statement seen by Euronews, several associations and NGOs including Aides and Oxfam, called on France to raise their donation “by at least 25%.”
Buzyn called on governments, NGOs, companies, and other donors to “intensify investments,” stating that France was the second biggest historical donor of the fund with more than €4.6 billion in cumulative donations.
In an opening speech, Pete Aguilar, a member of the House of Representatives, said on behalf of the US Congress that it would support a $4.68 billion contribution for the next three-year cycle.
Congress pledge to the Global Fund came in defiance to US President Donald Trump’s earlier announcement that he could cut aid to the Global Fund for the 2020 fiscal year.
Created in 2002, the Global Fund is an original partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and patients. Half of its funds go to the fight against AIDS and half to malaria and tuberculosis. Its objective is to eradicate these pandemics by 2030.
In its latest report published in September, the organization said 32 million lives has been saved since its inception. However, Peter Sands, the Executive Director of The Global Fund said that despite the progress, "we were not on track" to accomplish the 2030 goal and warned of "new threats" threatening its objectives: "stagnant funding" and the development of "drug-resistance" against malaria and tuberculosis.