New Ways to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: The Global Fund

The Global Fund – a foundation whose mission is to eradicate AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics – is a ground-breaking public-private partnership, and a key player in the innovative charitable financing world.

The foundation has disbursed an impressive USD 30 billion in its 15 years of existence in the fight against the three diseases. In July 2017 it hosted a debate in London on what “doing well by doing good” means in the field of public health, investigating links with sustainable development, and innovative forms of partnership and financing with participants from the corporate, charitable and public sector spheres.

According to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission’s recent report “Valuing the Sustainable Development Goals Prize,” sustainable business models could open up economic opportunities worth up to USD 12 trillion by 2030, and create 380 million jobs. In the health and well-being sector alone, the largest business opportunities could be worth USD 1.8 trillion.1

With this perspective in mind, eight speakers and panellists, including Lombard Odier’s Dr Maximilian Martin, debated The Global Fund’s proposition and opportunities on the horizon:

  • What is the private sector’s role in the fight against the three diseases The Global Fund targets? How can we defeat these diseases together?
  • How can allocating resources to The Global Fund generate social impact while delivering economic growth and value? What’s the scope for innovative business models?
  • Understanding the impact, and showcasing The Global Fund partnerships as a smart, effective mechanism to save lives.

Anna Wechsberg, a policy director at the UK’s Department of International Development and Anja Langenbucher, Director Europe at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, discussed the importance of uniting public and private funding. Since the Global Fund was created, the public sector has been responsible for 95% of pledges, with the remaining 5% from the private sector or other financing initiatives, including the Gates Foundation.

Robbie Brozin, co-founder of restaurant chain Nando’s, talked about his company’s involvement in the ‘Goodbye Malaria’ campaign, an Africa-run initiative to eliminate malaria in Mozambique. The campaign benefits Global-Fund supported programmes in Mozambique and mobilises fund-raising and advocacy against malaria, while creating simultaneously employment opportunities.

Unilever’s Rebecca Marmot, vice president of global partnerships, talked about Unilever’s own Sustainable Living Plan, a programme to create change across the company’s value chain – from operations to sourcing – and the ways consumers use Unilever products. The Plan, launched in 2010, is built around three big goals, one of which is to help more than a billion people to improve their health and hygiene by 2020, thereby reducing the incidence of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea.

Lombard Odier’s Dr Martin spoke about the bank’s many innovations in socially responsible and impact investing, adding that “talks with The Global Fund about ways of collaborating started six months ago are progressing very well, eventually leading to a strong partnership.”

Relationship managers from Lombard Odier’s London office Karl Auersperg-Breunner, Duygu Gözeler Porchet, and Dylan Samuel found it “energising that our work is opening access to the world of philanthropy and collaborating with world leading players such as the Gates Foundation. Sophisticated philanthropy’s ability to draw private clients into its orbit is increasing at an exponential rate.”

Dr Torsten Wegner from Lombard Odier Asset Management (Switzerland) SA added, “our clients think ‘impact’ across more and more dimensions. It’s our job to come up with the corresponding investment solutions.”

The Global Fund

Incorporated as a foundation under Swiss law, The Global Fund’s mission is to end HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria as epidemics. With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the lead funder, the foundation was founded in 2002 by governments, civil society and the private sector. The world's largest financier of anti-AIDS, TB and malaria programmes, as of July 2016 it had disbursed USD 30 billion to countries and communities in need. Its footprint includes 9.2mn people on antiretroviral therapy for HIV, 15.1mn people who have received TB treatment, and 659mn mosquito nets distributed by programmes for malaria. The foundation’s Secretariat is located in Geneva and comprises over 700 staff. 

The Sustainable Development Goals 

For the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 at a United Nations Summit. Entering into force in 2016, the SDGs aim to end all forms of poverty, to protect the planet, and to ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs call for poor, rich and middle-income countries alike to act, and assume that ending poverty is best achieved by strategies that foster economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while also tackling climate change and environmental protection. SDG #3 (“good health and well-being”) and SDG #7 (“clean water and sanitation”) are most directly linked to global public health.

1 See Business and Sustainable Development Commission, 2017, “Valuing the SDG Prize”


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