Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In Absence Of Strong International Leadership, International Finance Facility for Immunization Turns To Pope, Religious Leaders, Rock Stars, And Gates

"Pope Benedict joined other religious leaders, rock stars and financial institutions Tuesday to buy into a $1 billion bond issue that will fund life-saving vaccines for children in poor countries.

Investors bid for almost twice the amount of securities on offer as British finance minister Gordon Brown launched the project to fight preventable diseases like polio and measles.

The offering, the first of its kind, was the start of a 10-year initiative known as the International Finance Facility for Immunization.

"We will ultimately raise an extra $4 billion to deliver life-saving vaccines to children in the poorest countries," Brown said at the launch, flanked by religious leaders and Queen Rania of Jordan.

"This will immunize 500 million children by 2015, saving 10 million lives, and help to eradicate polio from the world."

Brown handed the first bond to Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace Council, who bought it in the Pope's name.

"It is the hope of Pope Benedict that the participation by the Church in this program will help to inspire others to take the step toward concrete action," he said.

Five more bonds were sold to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Hindu Forum of Britain and the Network of Sikh Organizations.

Rockers-turned-activists Bono and Bob Geldof will also buy some of the bonds and the project has the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation." ...

Reuters "Pope, Bono buy bonds for poor kids' vaccines:
Securities with triple-A credit rating are part of a 10-year plan to immunize children around the world" CNNMoney.com November 7, 2006


"Many children do not get access to vaccines" [2001]

Photo credit: BBC News. First published Tuesday, September 11, 2001.



Save the Children.


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