Gavi replenishment intervention in Berlin, 27 January 2015.
Chancellor Merkel, Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
We are here to make history together. Through Gavi we have already saved millions of precious lives. We want to continue to work alongside Gavi to bring vaccines to the poorest children in the world. We have set ourselves ambitious goals for the next period – to reach another 300 million children with vaccines and in this way help saving another 5-6 million lives. Norway remains fully committed to fulfil this ambition.
I am delighted to be here in Berlin with so many supporters of Gavi and its mission. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Germany and Chancellor Merkel for organizing and hosting this important event.
The MDGs made the world rally behind specific goals. We have seen major progress, the number of people living in absolute poverty is halved, more children go to school, maternal and child mortality is reduced by fifty per cent. Never in history has progress in health been faster than during the last 4 years. Gavi has been a major contributor.
This should inspire even harder work in the years to come. We have an unfinished agenda. 6 million children still die before their 5th birthday. As many as 1,5 million of them die from vaccine preventable diseases. To reach the poorest and most marginalized children must be priority number one. It calls for innovative solutions and new approaches. I am pleased that Gavi’s new strategy puts equity at the center.
We know from our own experience that vaccines are one of the best investments we can make in public health. We also know it is sound economics. Returns from investments in health are impressive and well documented. Reductions in mortality account for about 11% of recent economic growth in low and middle-income countries.
Education is another game changer. Health and education are key factors for children to reach their full potential. Educated mothers are more likely to have their children vaccinated. Healthy children are more likely to perform at school. Economic growth is built on health and education. Human resources is the backbone of wealthy societies.
For Gavi it will be particularly important to capitalize on the synergies between health and education in delivering the HPV vaccine. The introduction of the HPV vaccine gives a unique opportunity to provide a wider set of preventive services for young girls.
Successful delivery of vaccines depends on robust health systems. Working with countries to build institutional capacity and integrated services will be critical to sustain immunization programmes in the long run. The current Ebola outbreak is a staunch reminder of the importance of building resilient health systems. We must learn from this. We need a thorough review of the international response to identify mechanisms for preventing such outbreaks in the future. This applies to financing, organization and strengthening of health systems. On this particular, articulating the strength of Gavi partners will be pivotal to ensure an effective support to health systems.
We have confidence in Gavi’s capacity for innovation and ability to implement original approaches. As an innovative public-private partnership, it represents an important opportunity for diversification of financing.
National contributions are of growing importance and will be essential in the post 2015 agenda. Eventual graduation from Gavi support is fundamental.
Norway is honored to be among the founders of Gavi. It has been a remarkable journey. Since 2000, Gavi has helped immunize 500 million children and saved more than 6 million lives. In the next period we want to keep on building on these important achievements.
A prerequisite for reaching the new and ambitious goals is a fully funded Gavi. I am proud to announce that Norway will answer to the call by significantly increasing its contribution. For this period we give 4 billion Norwegian Kroner in direct contributions to Gavi – in the next period we shall increase our contribution further. Norway is prepared to contribute 1,25 billion NOK in direct contributions each year – bringing our total direct contributions for the period 2016-2020 to 6,25 billion NOK. This will be an increase of more than 50%.
Norway wants Gavi to be able to continue its important mission. That is why we are here to pledge our commitment. I wish Gavi every success on the challenges ahead and thank you all very much for your attention!