21 June 2024 | Statements

Unitaid applauds France’s steadfast commitment to sustainable global health interventions

Screenshot from YouTube Video: Forum mondial pour la souveraineté et l’innovation vaccinales. 20.6.2024. Élysée.

At the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation held in Paris on 20 June, French President Emanuel Macron reconfirmed his country’s commitment to the innovative financing model that helped found and continues to fund Unitaid, and many other global health initiatives.

The development solidarity fund (les fonds de solidarité pour le développement, in French) was created in 2005 to manage the airline tax levy, an innovative financing model that provides a predictable and robust source of revenue to advance global development goals. Unitaid has been a major recipient of this funding, which has underpinned its efforts to accelerate access to vital health tools for countries with limited resources, today reaching 300 million people each year and generating billions of dollars in savings.

In another major demonstration of commitment to global health, President Macron announced the reallocation of US$100 million to support vaccine manufacturing in Africa. Though the continent represents 20% of the global vaccine need, it produces just 2%, leaving the region at risk of a repeat of the stock outs and supply chain interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I commend France’s pioneering efforts to develop innovative financing mechanisms in support of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid. “Its dedication to building sustainable capacity for long-term improvements to global health and development through its support to Unitaid, the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator, and all our global health partners, are helping to build a healthier, more equitable world.”

Unitaid will continue to support countries in their efforts to gain greater access to innovative medicines and diagnostic tools – essential complements to vaccines – and is leading the way in promoting the regional production of these products, with the recent adoption of a new approach and area of intervention by its Executive Board. Speaking at the Forum, Marisol Touraine, Unitaid’s Executive Board Chair, highlighted these points and the critical importance of partnerships – with GAVI, the Global Fund, the World Health Organization, countries, communities, and all global health actors – in tackling global health challenges and addressing disparities in women’s health.

The Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation was hosted by GAVI, the Government of France and the African Union, and presented a vision for the future of global immunization in which 500 million children could be protected by vaccines.

Watch President Macron’s speech here.

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