As the ink dries on this new set of goals, we must not forget the unfinished business of the MDGs; the unmet targets - the populations still at risk, and the unnecessary deaths, suffering and continuing economic losses caused by malaria – a completely preventable and treatable disease. The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership has come very far in the last fifteen years – but we still have some distance to go.

Since the year 2000 more than 4.3 million lives have been saved, and child deaths from malaria have been cut by half. Sixty four countries have achieved the malaria-specific MDG - to have halted and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015 – and 55 countries are on course to reduce malaria cases by 75% by the end of this year. 26 endemic countries are now working to eliminate the disease entirely, with new regional commitments to malaria elimination announced in Mesoamerica, the Asia-Pacific and Africa.

This all means less newborn, infant and maternal deaths, fewer days missed at school and work, more productive communities, stronger health systems and more vibrant economies.

This unprecedented progress has been achieved with a little less than half of the USD5 billion required per annum – the estimated cost of reaching everyone in need with malaria prevention and treatment. However, with drug and insecticide resistance eroding effective tools, and malaria elimination now the only solution for many countries, the price tag is rising. Malaria control efforts will need smarter, more targeted, investments and increased multi-sectoral spending at the national level as endemic countries move from low to middle income status and shift their sights toward ambitious elimination targets.

The gains to date are also fragile and their impact unevenly distributed. In this important transition year the RBM Partnership will launch its second generation global malaria action plan called “Action and Investment to defeat Malaria (AIM) 2016-2030: for a Malaria-Free World,” which makes the case for eliminating the scourge of malaria over the next 15 years ensuring no resurgence of the disease, with its associated crippling economic cost and avoidable deaths. Progress towards the new Sustainable Development Goals will be contingent on the continued reduction and elimination of malaria, but this will require heightened investment to expand efforts, stronger partnership – within and between sectors -- and a people centred approach, which leaves no one behind.

Eliminating malaria is critical to delivering on the promises we’ve made to the world, by fighting poverty and improving maternal and child health, among others. In Africa alone, 10,000 women and between 75,000 and 200,000 infants are estimated to die annually as a result of malaria infection during pregnancy. It is unacceptable that the most vulnerable in our society are the least protected. We can and must do better. Greater investment in future generations, in the protection of mothers and their unborn babies from malaria, in all populations at risk, is a moral imperative.

As the door closes on the 2015 MDGs, a window on the future provides a glimpse of a world that could be malaria-free by 2030. But this vision will only be realised by a significant increase in investment and action – without it the disease will remain a health risk for more than half of the world’s population and will continue to thwart economic and social progress in 97 endemic countries around the world, helping to perpetuate the instability and inequality associated with poverty.