At their 8-9 July summit meeting in Japan, the G8 nations agreed to "maintain momentum towards the historical achievement of eradicating polio." 


To do so, their joint statement continued, "We will meet our previous commitments to maintain or increase financial contributions to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative [GPEI], and encourage other public and private donors to do the same."

Together, the G8 countries -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- account for more than half of all funding of the GPEI. The initiative is led by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.

The G8 first placed polio eradication on its summit agenda in 2002. It has renewed its commitment to eradication at every summit since then, but not all member countries have completed their financial contributions.

In addition to raising funds, G8 countries work as a group to advocate broad support for ending polio. Advocacy by G8 leaders for the four remaining polio-endemic countries -- Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- is critical to ensure eradication of the disease. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation welcomed the G8's renewed commitment to finishing polio. Following release of the G8's 2008 summit communiqué, the Gates Foundation stated, "In recognition of the G8's continued attention to polio eradication, the foundation will commit at least US$150 million to fight polio this year. This is in addition to the $250 million we have committed to date toward polio eradication efforts." 

Finishing polio worldwide remains Rotary's top goal. Vital to helping achieve that goal is Rotary's US$100 Million Challenge, the three-year funding effort to match the Gates Foundation's $100 million grant to The Rotary Foundation for polio eradication.