GPEI partners join in celebrating 50 years of the Islamic Development Bank

30 April 2024

Islamic Development Bank Golden Jubilee, held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 28-04-24. © Tasneem Alsultan

On 28 April, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and partners convened to celebrate the IsDB’s Golden Jubilee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Over the last 50 years, the IsDB has been a leading partner in advancing health and development around the world, including through the polio eradication effort. Since 2013, the IsDB has provided US$ 587 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and has been a key partner in promoting eradication and access to life-saving vaccines. To date, the IsDB is one of the largest providers of funding to the national polio eradication program in Pakistan – one of the last two countries where wild poliovirus remains endemic. 

The same day, Saudi Arabia announced US$ 100 million in new funding to support the second phase of the IsDB’s Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF), which was launched last May. The LLF aims to lift the poorest out of poverty across 33 IsDB member countries through investments in primary health care, preventing infectious diseases like polio, enhancing smallholder farming, and improving infrastructure.  This commitment follows a renewed pledge of US$ 50 million from the UAE to the LLF announced last week. To maximize the impact of every dollar, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) provides a 20% match of the total granted by donors to the LLF, up to US$ 100 million.  

These pledges were part of a broader partnership of more than US$ 620 million announced by Saudi Arabia and BMGF, which also included US$ 500 million from Saudi Arabia to support the GPEI. 

“The Islamic Development Bank warmly welcomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s generous contribution to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. This vital support strengthens GPEI’s efforts to eliminate this devastating disease. We’re proud that IsDB and ISFD, our poverty alleviation arm, have been among the top financiers for Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts, providing over US$ 555 million since 2012,” stated Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, IsDB President. 

“We also applaud the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s new funding for the Lives and Livelihoods Fund. This innovative initiative tackles poverty barriers faced by families, communities, and entire countries. We express our sincere gratitude to all partners, existing and new, for their continued collaboration and commitment. Together, through these concerted efforts, we can achieve the critical last-mile results needed to create a truly polio-free world,” added the IsDB President. 

The fight to eradicate polio is a global effort, and it wouldn’t be possible without global partners. I’m grateful for the Islamic Development Bank’s ongoing support for polio eradication—through joint investments like the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, and particularly in Pakistan, one of only two countries where wild polio is still endemic. Eradicating polio is one of the most important legacies we can leave for future generations. And it will only be possible thanks to support from partners like the Islamic Development Bank, said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Today, wild poliovirus is now endemic in just two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan – and most variant poliovirus cases are increasingly confined to high-risk areas in just four countries – Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, and Yemen. 

“The IsDB has played a key role in the fight against polio, helping the program reach millions of children with vaccines and strengthen health systems in the most critical areas to end this devastating disease.” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, “We thank them for their partnership in global health over the past 50 years and look forward to many more.” 

“Communities all over the world are healthier today because of long-standing commitments to global health from partners, including the IsDB. Together, with donors, governments, and health workers, we can deliver a historic win for children and families everywhere and end polio for good,” said Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF. 

The GPEI has the tools and strategies needed to ensure children today and for generations to come are protected from paralysis or even death due to polio. But in many of the places where polio remains, there are complex challenges to reaching all children with vaccines and other life-saving interventions, including vaccine misinformation, political insecurity, environmental disasters, and broader humanitarian crises. Continued support from donors like the IsDB will be critical to help countries build better health systems and overcome the final obstacles to stop polio for good.  

“Raising funds to eradicate polio has been a long-standing mission of Rotary International, and we recognize the critical role every dollar plays in immunizing children. On behalf of the organization, I want to thank the Islamic Development Bank for their great partnership spanning 50 years in the fight against polio. We’ve come a long way in as many years, showing that together with full support and collaboration, we can overcome any obstacle in our path to achieve our promise to deliver a polio-free world to children everywhere,” said Mike McGovern, Chair of the International PolioPlus Committee at Rotary International. 

For more information on the IsDB and its Golden Jubilee celebrations, see here 

About Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group 

Rated AAA by the major rating agencies of the world, the Islamic Development Bank is the premier multilateral development bank of the Global South that has been working for 50 years to improve the lives of the communities it serves by delivering impact at scale. The Bank brings together 57 Member Countries across four continents, touching the lives of nearly 1 in 5 of the world population. Its mission is to equip people to drive their own economic and social progress at scale, putting the infrastructure in place enabling them to fulfil their potential. Headquartered in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, IsDB has regional hubs and centers of excellence in 11 of its Member Countries.  Over the years, the Bank has evolved from a single entity into a group comprising five entities: Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) tasked with research and training, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). 

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