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Rotary recognizes President Emmanuel Macron for France’s commitment to a polio-free world

PARIS (4 May 2024) – Rotary International presented its Polio Eradication Champion Award to French President Emmanuel Macron today, in recognition of France’s significant role in the global effort to eradicate polio. The ceremony was a feature of the Rotary Day event at UNESCO, centered on education and peace.

Under President Macron's leadership, France notably pledged €50 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in October 2022. This commitment was complemented by a significant partnership announcement in December 2023 between the Gates Foundation and the French Development Agency (AFD), which included a loan of up to €55 million to support the World Health Organization’s polio efforts in Pakistan, bringing the country's total commitment to polio eradication to up to €105 million ($103.4 million). France has also been a strong advocate within the G-20 and G-7, urging other nations to continue their support for a polio-free world.

“I am delighted to recognize President Macron and the Government of France for the outstanding commitment to a polio-free world," said Rotary International President Gordon McInally. "Our experience over more than thirty years of battling polio has shown us what we can achieve by working together. As part of the global team to end polio, we are committed to reaching every child and eliminating polio even in the most difficult environments."

Rotary has contributed more than $2.7 billion to fight polio, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, and countless volunteer hours since launching its PolioPlus program in 1985. Rotary’s over 1000 clubs in France have contributed a total of $24.64 million (around €23.17 million) toward ending polio. In 1988, Rotary joined in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to form the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, later joined. When the initiative launched, there were 350,000 cases of polio every year. Today the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent.

About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.4 million members of more than 46,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit

About the Polio Eradication Champion Award: Established by Rotary in 1995, the award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the global eradication effort. President Macron is the first French President to receive this award and joins other distinguished recipients including Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and Albert II, Prince of Monaco. Former leaders who have been honored include U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Contact:  Claudia Brunner, +41.44.387.7116,