I want to share with you my excitement over the outcomes of the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi to celebrate the huge progress we’ve made toward ending polio and protecting all children with life-saving vaccines. The Summit was a big success.
World leaders including health and political ministers from Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, EU President Jose Manuel Barroso and former UNSG Kofi Annan appeared alongside polio survivors and vaccine heroes like Ade Adepitan, a British Paralympic medalist who contracted polio as a child in Nigeria, and Sikha Patra and Salim Shekh, two kids from India who organize polio immunizations for their community in Calcutta.
We had an amazing cross-section of participants, including community leaders like the Sultan of Sokoto from Nigeria and Rotarian Deepak Kapur from India, industry representatives, and leaders from our organizing partners UNICEF, GAVI, WHO and GPEI. Although he couldn’t attend, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a polio survivor, also added his voice to the gathering.
We were also in Abu Dhabi to have some frank discussions on what still needs to be done to reach our ambitious goals.
And I’m proud to say that collectively, we changed history. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative rolled out a new strategy to achieve a polio-free world by 2018. Global leaders demonstrated their confidence in the six-year plan by pledging their financial and political commitments to help ensure its success.
In all, we raised a total of $4 billion dollars. That’s close to three-quarters of the plan’s projected $5.5 billion cost over six years, and enough to protect more than one billion children from polio forever.
Countries like Norway, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the UK made generous pledges, as did His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The $4 billion also includes $335 million from private philanthropists such as Carlos Slim, His Royal Highness Alwaleed Bin Talal, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The foundation stepped in with $1.8 billion, a third of what’s needed for the polio campaign.
The Summit pledges are a huge step towards a fully funded plan, and I hope that financing won’t be the thing that stands in the way of achieving the miracle of polio eradication.
Collectively, we sent a powerful message that the world remains committed to fulfilling the vision of the Decade of Vaccines to end polio and reach all children, no matter where they live, with the vaccines they need.