01 Oct 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Rotary International has made a new funding commitment of $75 million over three years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) at the high-level side event on Polio eradication during the United Nations (UN) General Assembly session in New York. This funding commitment is in addition to $1.2 billion invested by Rotary to GPEI.
Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched GPEI in 1988 and it now includes the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Foundation. Over $9.5 billion has been been invested in global polio eradication since its launch in 1988.
The special event called, "Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World' was convened by Dr Ban Ki-Moon, secretary general, UN, and was chaired by heads of state from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Australia. The event was also chaired by Mr Bill Gates and dignitaries from the UK, Japan, Canada and Rotary International.
Mr Wilfrid Wilkinson, chair, The Rotary Foundation (TRF), while announcing the commitment at the special event, said that, "We are at a true tipping point, with success never closer than it is right now. We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world's children."
Along with this new commitment from Rotary International at the special side-event, The Islamic Development Bank (IDB), a new donor to the polio eradication effort, announced a $227 million loan to Pakistan. The IDB also announced a $3 million grant for polio activities in Afghanistan.. Further Mr Julian Fantino, Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, announced a "Three for One Polio Challenge Initiative" with Rotarians in Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Upon completion, the initiative would generate a total of $3 million for the GPEI.