Bill Gates Applauds Spain’s Solidarity With the World’s Poor and Encourages Leaders to Maintain Investment in Overseas Aid | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
During visit to Madrid today, Gates to meet with President Rajoy, development policymakers
MADRID -- Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will visit Madrid today to talk with Spain’s new government about its overseas aid commitments – at a time when its leaders begin discussions about restructuring the country’s development aid policy.
During his visit, Gates will meet with President Mariano Rajoy and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation José Manuel García-Margallo. He will also deliver a presentation and engage in a discussion with development policymakers and influencers about the life-saving impact of Spain’s aid and ways to further improve its effectiveness.
Commenting ahead of his visit, Gates said: “Spain’s investments, particularly in global health and agriculture, have helped save lives and give people a way out of extreme poverty. As one of the world’s most generous donor countries, Spain has shown a deep sense of solidarity with the world’s poor. I want to encourage Spain to build on this historic success by maintaining its funding for global health and development even in these difficult times.”
Innovative partnerships supported by Spain have helped save millions of lives. Spain has given more than €41 million to the GAVI Alliance, supporting the immunization of 326 million children and preventing over five million future deaths. Spain was also an early supporter of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (The Global Fund), contributing approximately €530 million. The Global Fund has provided antiretroviral treatment to 3.3 million people living with HIV and detected and treated 8.2 million people with tuberculosis.
However, the debt crisis has resulted in severe budget cuts, including a reduction in ODA spending, which fell to 0.4 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) in 2011. Gates believes such cuts are not inevitable, and that this is an important moment for Spain to continue investing in the poor, while exploring new ways to improve the quality and impact of its aid interventions. Gates argues that by tightening its focus, Spain has an opportunity to put more resources behind development efforts with the most impact.
Even with the recent cuts, key findings from a poll released this week by the Gates Foundation and UNICEF Spain show that 74 percent of the Spanish public believes that their government should give overseas aid. Of this majority, 86 percent believe aid should be a moderate or large amount. For more information visit http://www.unicef.es/actualidad-documentacion/noticias/los-espanoles-apoyan-la-ayuda-al-desarrollo.
Note: Gates’ presentation to development policymakers and influencers is closed to press.
For more information about Spain’s ODA investments, visit http://www.seekdevelopment.org/seek_donor_profile_spain_feb_2012.pdf.
To hear directly from Spanish people about their views on aid, visit http://tv.unicef.es/tv.php?i=193.