Denmark commits DKK 25 million (US$4 million) to the GAVI Alliance global immunisation programs

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Global Health partners gather in Copenhagen to build on success and address global health challenges

COPENHAGEN, 14 March 2006 - Today Denmark, through its Minister for Development Cooperation, Ms. Ulla Tørnæs, announced it will commit DKK 25 million (US$4million) for 2006 to global immunisation programs through the GAVI Alliance and its partners.

"We are grateful for this contribution which augments prior commitments by the Government of Denmark," said Julian Lob-Levyt, Executive Secretary of the GAVI Alliance. We look forward to continued and increased collaboration with Danida for the 2007 to 2011 period, especially in view of our common objectives to contribute more actively to health systems strengthening by providing long term predictable financing."

This is Denmark's fourth and largest contribution to GAVI - from US$1.15 million in 2001 to US$3.34 million in 2004 and 2005. The contribution reinforces the commitment of development assistance set forth by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the landmark Danish Development Policy document: "The Danish development assistance will be maintained at a level that does not fall below 0.8 percent of GNP in the coming years. The government will work for a strengthened partnership regarding MDGs that invokes a shared responsibility for their achievement among rich and poor countries alike."

The contribution was announced at a meeting of international global health experts, The Copenhagen Panel on Key Challenges for Global Health Partnerships, which gathered representatives from leading Global Health Partnerships (GHPs) to discuss efforts to enhance their life-saving efforts by advancing collaboration at both the global and ground levels.

This event follows up on issues discussed at the 3rd High Level Forum for the Health MDGs in November 2005. One of the key outcomes of the 2005 assembly was the drafting of the Best Practice Principles for Global Health Partnerships. Participants at the meeting, many of whom attended today's gathering in Copenhagen, endorsed the basic principles for GHPs: ownership, alignment, and harmonization.

Among a wide variety of other notable representatives in attendance at the Copenhagen panel, the Global Health Partnerships included the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), the Stop TB Partnership, the Health Metrics Network (HMN) and the GAVI Alliance.

"The added value of Global Health Partnerships comes from their ability to address issues through collaborative means, making them more effective than each partner could be on its own," said Julian Lob-Levyt, Executive Secretary of the GAVI Alliance. "GHPs also want to substantially reduce reporting and transaction costs when dealing with partner countries. This will increase aid effectiveness dramatically," Lob-Levyt added.

Delighted at Copenhagen's position at the center of such discussions, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Former Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs and member of the GAVI Fund board, explained: "Denmark had already demonstrated that it was at the forefront of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals when it earmarked 0.84% of its GNI for development aid in 2004. The country continues to show its leadership in global development today as Copenhagen hosts this important panel."

Today's declaration of financial support by the Danish government closely follows Brazil's announcement last week that it will contribute US$20 million to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) over the next 20 years. IFFIm, a new financing mechanism that will use pledges of future aid to leverage money from international capital markets for immediate use, will accelerate significantly the availability of new development funding toward global health improvement and immunisation efforts. Together, the recent Danish and Brazilian contributions signal increasing global support behind efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The increased funding for the GAVI Alliance, help strengthen health and immunisation services, accelerate research into important new vaccines, promote access to underused vaccines and improve injection safety.

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The GAVI Alliance

An alliance of all the major stakeholders in immunisation, the GAVI Alliance includes among its partners developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, NGOs, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is estimated that more than 1.7 million early deaths will have been prevented as a result of support by GAVI up to the end of 2005.

GAVI's efforts are critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goal on child health, which calls for reducing childhood mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Of the more than 10 million children who die before reaching their fifth birthday every year, 2.5 million die from diseases that could be prevented with currently available or new vaccines.

Global Health Partnerships

GHPs are alliances of key institutions which advocate for and can provide large-scale new financing for problem-solving in a variety of fields. Developing countries and the donor community alike are depending on GHPs to help meet the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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