Heads of G8 countries reaffirm commitment to polio-free world

Declaration at Deauville Summit underscores need for ‘special focus’ and ‘renewed momentum’

Heads of State of G8 countries at last week's Summit in Deauville: committed to urgently achieving a polio-free world C.Alix/France
Heads of State of G8 countries at last week’s Summit in Deauville: committed to urgently achieving a polio-free world
C.Alix/France

28 May 2011 – G8 leaders unanimously re-affirmed their commitment to polio eradication at this year’s G8 Summit in Deauville, France, on 26-27 May. In its declaration, the G8 reaffirmed their intention to complete the job of polio eradication: “We stress our continuing commitment to the eradication of polio,” the statement read. “Our past support has contributed to the 99% decrease of polio cases in the developing countries. We flag the need for a special focus on this issue and renewed momentum. To this end, we will continue to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.”

G8 countries have historically been the most important donor base to the GPEI, though several G8 countries have decreased their funding in recent years. The group’s strengthened support, if operationalized, will be critical to urgently fill a global funding gap of US$665 million through 2012.

In January of this year, speaking on the topic of polio eradication, UK Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the importance of strengthening commitment to polio eradication even in the face of the current financial climate: “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”

The US$665 million funding gap was recently called the ‘single greatest threat to the GPEI’s success’. This assessment came from the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), set up last year at the request of the World Health Assembly to monitoring progress towards the achievement of a polio-free world, in its April 2011 report. The IMB urged donor partners – particularly the richest countries of the world – to urgently consider contributing further funds.

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