The Gates Foundation is determined to find a way to work with the administration, but the Gateses won’t ask the billionaire president to take the “giving pledge” — at least not right away.
Melinda Gates says she and her husband hope to convince the Trump administration of the value of foreign aid.
Speaking Wednesday at a 10th anniversary celebration for the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health and in an interview with The Seattle Times, Gates said that while U.S. funding for foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of the federal budget, it has a huge impact on people around the world.
“It’s incredibly important for both humanitarian reasons and for peace and security reasons,” said the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s biggest philanthropy. “I think what you will continue to hear Bill and I saying very vociferously, very publicly, is (that) that less than 1 percent portion of the budget is highly effective.”
Foreign aid can be a powerful tool in promoting global stability, she explained.
“Families don’t necessarily want to uproot from their communities, and they certainly don’t want to go across the high seas in a terrible boat to try to make it to Europe,” she said. “But they are not finding the economic opportunity, they are not having good health where they are.”
Programs like the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, created by George W. Bush, have been lifesavers for people in poor countries with high rates of HIV, Gates pointed out.
“I’ve literally met moms and dads who are alive because of PEPFAR and the investments that have been made,” she said.
President Trump has been largely silent on the issue of foreign aid, but his emphasis on “America first” has many in the field concerned.
Gates said she is encouraged by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s background as CEO of ExxonMobil. The oil giant’s foundation funds programs to fight malaria and improve economic opportunities for women around the world.
“I think he understands some of these global health issues,” she said.
Though the Gates Foundation has an endowment that exceeds $30 billion, it takes the kind of money that only governments can muster to mount large-scale efforts to fight poverty and improve health, Gates said.
MONTREAL – The international advocacy organization Global Citizen in support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced that Usher, Half Moon Run, Metric, Grimes, and Charlotte Cardin will headline a free-ticketed concert on Saturday, September 17, at the Bell Centre in Montreal. With Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bill Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attending as special guests, the event will celebrate progress in global health and development.
Fans and activists can start earning their tickets by joining the Global Citizen movement at www.globalcitizen.org/canada, where they can take action in support of the Global Fund, a partnership of governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria united to end these epidemics by 2030.
An article by Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
From The Lancet
The world is about to undergo an unprecedented transformation: the largest generation of young people in human history is coming of age. As a mother to teenagers, I have a good idea how this is an important stage of life. Every day, I see how my children’s worlds are expanding beyond our family, exposing them to new experiences and influences. While this inevitably leads to some anxieties, on the whole it is an exciting time as they begin new chapters in their lives. It is a similar story for many young people. But not all. I have also seen from my work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the problems that come with adolescence for those in the poorest parts of the world.
The Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing illuminates for the first time the magnitude of challenges faced by young people aged 10–24 years. This is a dynamic period of cognitive and physical development that can bring opportunity, but also angst and upheaval. Mental disorders commonly emerge at this time, self-harm and suicide spike, and it’s the age when substance use typically starts. Instead of being a time filled with possibility, adolescence can be when the world begins to contract for some young people. It is when they stop going to school, are at risk from HIV infection, or start having babies before they are emotionally or physically ready. All this wasted human potential still happens despite the progress the world has made making my children’s generation the healthiest and most educated ever. So the Lancet Commission is a powerful reminder that there is more to do to meet the unique needs of adolescents. And the compelling findings of the Commission must serve as an important wake-up call to individuals, organisations, and governments to support a new approach.
The stakes are high, so we must respond urgently. Failure to address the distinctive challenges that come with adolescence could not only jeopardise all that has been accomplished so far, it could also severely dent our chances of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to health, nutrition, education, gender equality, and food security. But as the Commission makes clear, if we do act, then we will see a triple dividend of benefits: for adolescents now, for them later as adults, and later still for their children. The world is already moving in the right direction. The Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health and the SDGs, both explicitly call out the importance of adolescent health. The Lancet Commission gives us the blueprint we need to move this work forward and forces us to think differently.
Existing systems and structures focus almost exclusively on children or on adults, meaning few investments and interventions are directed specifically to young people. This is an issue that we have recognised at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation’s work on family planning, nutrition, HIV, and maternal health has helped improve adolescent wellbeing—but until recently, only indirectly. As the Commission underlines, investment is needed in an ambitious, comprehensive, and cross-sector agenda focused solely on adolescents, and in line with its key recommendations our foundation is currently exploring three areas where we believe we can help to make a difference.
It starts with filling the knowledge gap around adolescent health. This is especially important for women and girls, where the gaps are pervasive. Youth and adolescence is such a pivotal time of life and yet we know so little about this age group. The Commission rightly identifies indicators that should be collected and monitored. These include early marriage, fertility, nutrition, and non-communicable diseases. Importantly, the information gathered will need to be broken down by sex, age, economic status, and location, to help focus resources where they are most needed. Already, our foundation is learning more by accumulating evidence on the health and wellbeing of people aged 10–14 years. But this step is just the beginning. Gathering data makes the invisible visible, and analysing it helps us discover what works and what doesn’t.
For that, as the Commission points out, it is crucial to involve young people. Too often the global community creates solutions for them rather than with them. This is a generation brimming with energy, ingenuity, leadership potential, and a natural determination to challenge the status quo. By harnessing those qualities and freeing them from social norms that prevent their voices being heard, we can empower young people to drive change. Accordingly, we are beginning to co-invest in initiatives that not only draw on behavioural and cognitive science, use new technologies, and include partnerships with adults, but that also take inspiration and direction from adolescents themselves.
Adolescence and young adulthood is also typically the time that gender roles and stereotypes take hold. With that, come the inequalities that determine the entire trajectory of girls’ lives—for example, in sub-Saharan Africa, young women aged 15–24 years are twice as likely to be living with HIV compared with young men. Addressing such disparities is our foundation’s third area of focus. We are already committed to putting women and girls at the centre of our global health and development agenda, with a specific emphasis on adolescents in family planning and nutrition. Now we are exploring new ways to ensure that women and girls remain a priority as the world gets to work on the SDGs. As part of this, we are looking for big ideas to promote women and girls’ empowerment, and examining policies and laws that make the greatest difference to women’s health and development.
My children’s generation is better equipped to expand the limits of human possibility than any that has gone before. But while responsibility for their health and wellbeing lies with everyone, accountability currently rests with no one. Our foundation strongly supports the Lancet Commission’s call for a global accountability mechanism that can offer independent oversight of a comprehensive adolescent health agenda, with young people at the forefront. For too long adolescents have been the forgotten community of the health and development agenda. We cannot afford to neglect them any longer.
LUXEMBOURG – Luxembourg is increasing its financial commitment to the Global Fund for the next three-year replenishment cycle starting in 2017, to €8.1 million, an 8 percent increase from the last replenishment period.
Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, announced the increase today at a meeting in Luxembourg with Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund.
“Luxembourg Development Cooperation has adopted a strong new global health strategy with clear and concise goals and targets,” said Minister Schneider. “I am very happy to confirm that the Global Fund is an essential and privileged partner in making this strategy a reality.”
Luxembourg is one of the most generous donors to the Global Fund, per capita. With a population of just over half a million people, Luxembourg commits 0.95 percent of its Gross National Income to Official Development Assistance.
“We are encouraged by early pledges of countries like Luxembourg who continue to show exceptional commitment and generosity in supporting the Global Fund’s mission,” said Dr. Dybul. “Thanks to partners like Luxembourg we expect a strong replenishment this year, enabling the Global Fund to help achieve the global goal of ending the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030.”
Luxembourg’s cumulative contributions to the Global Fund amount to €38 million. In addition, Luxembourg is also supporting efforts to finance technical assistance to support programs in El Salvador, Kosovo and Laos.
GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has named Rahul Singhal, a senior global risk management and treasury executive, as its new Chief Risk Officer.
Mr. Singhal has 28 years of experience in risk management in the financial services industry, building and leading risk management teams, and executing complex global initiatives including acquisitions and strategic investments. Mr. Singhal joined the Global Fund in October 2015 as Deputy Chief Risk Officer, and has been Acting Chief Risk Officer since January 2016.
“Rahul brings unparalleled experience and perspective on risk,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “His tremendous expertise and knowledge will guide us through the increasingly complex challenges we face, and it’s great that he can serve in this role.”
The Chief Risk Officer position was created in 2012 to strengthen risk management at the Global Fund. The Chief Risk Officer is responsible for supervising overall risk management, and serves on the Management Executive Committee.
At Bank of America, Mr. Singhal served in numerous positions overseeing credit and market risk, counterparty risk and operational risk over a period that included two severe financial crises – in 1997 in Asia and in 2008 globally. Originally from India, he holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi.