In 2024, the only way is forward in the fight to end malaria

Most of us get into the world of advocacy and campaigning to change history and make the world a better place – forever.

In reality, the chances we get as campaigners to make that mark can be rare.

But in 2024, in the long fight to end malaria, that is not the case.

New tools and innovations have presented us with a golden opportunity to drastically reduce the deaths, devastation and misery caused by a disease that still claims the life of one child every minute of every day and remains one of the highest causes of death in low-income countries.

Take immunisation, for example;  in 2024 the RTS,S malaria vaccine has started to be rolled out to young children in endemic countries. It has been administered to more than 2 million children in Africa and this year will begin wide scale rollout alongside the second (‘R21’) vaccine.

In order to be most effective, we know vaccines need to be used alongside other treatments, such as next-generation bed nets which have been treated with a new insecticide to overcome mosquito resistance and have protected over 60 million people so far.

Or antimalarials like ‘seasonal malarial chemoprevention’ which protects 50 million children every year ahead of peaks in malaria infections.

Collectively The World Health Organization estimates that malaria interventions have contributed to the prevention of 2.1bn cases and 11.7m deaths between 2000 and 2022.

These are big numbers and they should inspire us, because the scale of the challenge we face in reducing malaria by 90% to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3.3 by 2030 is not to be underestimated.

We know as campaigners that no route to change is a straight line, and malaria is no different.

As we all know, Covid-19 claimed the lives of millions around the world and disrupted progress in the fight against malaria,  which  even before the pandemic, was beginning to stall.

And now, as climate change accelerates, changing temperatures, more variable rainy seasons, extreme weather events and moving populations will make malaria more unpredictable and hit vulnerable populations harder.

Meanwhile,  ongoing geopolitical and economic instability shake the foundations of decision making and can give policymakers fewer levers to pull on.

But on World Malaria Day, these should not be thought of as barriers to further action on malaria, but reasons to run towards it at this critical moment.

Because if we take our foot off the accelerator now, the progress we’ve made, halving the mortality rate between 2000 and 2019, risks being lost as we start to roll back down the hill.

Instead, these challenges must galvanise us and act as a catalyst for policymakers.

We need Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to be fully funded so they can coordinate investment and logistical efforts like never before to ensure vaccines achieve the impact we know they can.

Alongside vaccines, we need to ensure the wider toolbox of innovations, like next-generation bed nets and new antimalarials, reach the children that need them most.

And we must ensure these ground-breaking interventions and treatments keep coming by maintaining a robust research and development (R&D) pipeline to help combat a disease that is in part so effective because it’s so adaptable. 

Not only would this effort save millions of lives, but it can build resilience to climate change, assist with tracking other infectious diseases, and allow economic growth to flourish.

Find out what you can do to end malaria by checking out  the Zero Malaria Change the Story’ campaign, featuring Zero Malaria Ambassadors The Ghetto Kids and David Beckham.

Author: Dr Astrid Bonfield, CEO of Malaria No More UK

Artists, Activists and Ex-Leaders launch unprecedented call for reform of global financial system

Artists, Activists and Ex-Leaders launch unprecedented call for reform of global financial system

80 years ago the institutions that govern the world’s economies were created: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. In the wake of World War II, they were devised as a means for lasting peace and prosperity but today they are not living up to this ideal. 

80 years on, an unprecedented coalition of leading actors, politicians, artists and economists have written to the leaders of these major economies – the G20 – urging them to upgrade the financial system to help solve the debt and climate crises and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Why Now? 

Building on calls for global public finance reform led by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Kenyan Prime Minister William Ruto, and French President Emmanuel Macron, the letter has been published on the eve of the Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank – which will see decisionmakers gather in Washington DC.

As we move into the Second Half of the Global Goals, now is the time for decisive action. Reform of the global financial architecture and the replenishment of these iconic institutions holds the potential to be a game-changer for all the goals – so that by 2030 we see true progress across climate, poverty, gender inequality, and many more of the world’s most pressing issues.

What Is the Open Letter Asking For?

Backed by ex-world leaders; global artists and activists; the CEOs of major International NGOs Oxfam, Save The Children, Christian Aid, The ONE Campaign, The International Rescue Committee; and many more – the letter has three clear asks: 

Triple The Investment 

To achieve the Global Goals and meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement by 2030, it’s estimated that we need to invest at least $5.4 trillion annually. Right now, we’re falling short by about $3 trillion each year.

Multilateral development banks play a pivotal role in financing both climate action and broader development initiatives, but they must triple their lending levels by the end of this decade if we are to create a more sustainable and equitable world for all. This includes a tripling of the funding provided by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) which is one of the largest sources of affordable financing for low-income countries. To find out more about how investing in funds like IDA can deliver smart, long-term wins for all of us, watch this short film.

End Crippling Debt

The burden of international debt is severely hampering the progress of developing and emerging economies. Low-income countries in particular find themselves trapped in a cycle of repayments to wealthier countries, the World Bank and the IMF. This puts 60% of low-income countries and at least 25% of middle-income countries at risk of being unable to fulfil their repayment obligations. 

Currently, low-income countries spend 2.5 times more on debt than on education, 4 times more than on health, 5 times more than on climate change initiatives, and a staggering 11 times more than on social protection. By alleviating debt in these countries, we can empower them to redirect their scarce resources from debt repayments to human development and climate adaptation.

Make Polluters Pay

Addressing climate change and global inequalities requires holding major polluters accountable. The bitter reality is that the wealthiest individuals are significant contributors to global carbon emissions by leading carbon-intensive lifestyles. In 2019,  the richest 1% were responsible for as much carbon output as the poorest 66% of the global population.

Meanwhile fossil fuel companies, responsible for 70% of global industrial emissions, continue to bring in record profits while benefiting from substantial subsidies. In 2022, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres criticised this imbalance and suggested redirecting these funds to support those most affected by climate change. 

Making polluters pay would free up vast sums of money needed to achieve the Global Goals. By simply implementing taxes on the wealth and income of the 1% we could generate over $1.7 trillion annually. 

Take Action

We want to make sure that the letter reaches as many G20 Leaders as possible! Will you help us? Read and share the full letter, using our simple toolkit, and visit globalgoals.org/dearG20 to take further action with Global Citizen and Oxfam. With your help, we can pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.