Photos obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com show the unlikely pals — who have worked together for two decades to address global health issues — catching up with one another in a 30-minute meeting.
It is unclear what the two men were speaking about, but they could be seen smiling as they passed a New York Police Department vehicle.
Gates, 66, was seen wearing a gray stiped suit with a blue button-down and a blue-striped tie with loafers for the occasion, while the U2 front man, 62, donned all black.
He wore a black suit, with a black undershirt and even black leather shoes for the conference, as well as his signature silver hoop earrings and pink sunglasses.
The billionaire Microsoft founder was in the Big Apple on Monday to attend UN General Assembly meetings, including the Global Fund replenishment conference to discuss investments in programs to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, build resilient and sustainable health systems and strengthen pandemic preparedness.
He will also be speaking at the Goalkeepers 2022 event on Wednesday.
Bono, meanwhile, is in the Big Apple for the Clinton Global Initiative 2022 meeting, sponsored by the Clinton Foundation.
This is the first time the controversial foundation is holding its annual summit since former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran for president back in 2016
It will include announcements of new Commitments to Action — specific, measurable programs philanthropists can start to address global challenges.
More than 3,700 Commitments to Action have been launched at these summits since it began back in 2005, according to the Clinton Foundation, ‘making a difference in the lives of more than 435 million people in over 180 countries.’
‘I am still inspired by the commitments from those across the CGI community to come together, forge unlikely partnerships and take action on the major global challenges of our time,’ former President Bill Clinton said in a statement ahead of this week’s conference.
‘The sponsors and partners for our CGI 2022 Meeting are making this possible — helping build a space where people don’t just talk, they forge and implement solutions.
‘I am incredibly grateful for their support as the CGI community reconvenes to take action.’
Bono and Gates have forged one of those unlikely partnerships, working over the past two decades to address global health issues and becoming good friends along the way.
They first met through a mutual friend, Paul Allen, Gates told Forbes back in 2013, ‘and Paul said to me several times, ‘You know, Bono is really serious about poverty and stuff you’re working on; you should talk to him.’
‘And I have to admit, I did not make it a priority,’ he said.
But when the two attended a Davos Forum meeting in the aftermath of September 11, ‘Bono, Bill Clinton and I met, and I was kind of amazed that he actually knew hat he was talking about and had a real commitment to making things happen.
‘It was phenomenal,’ Gates said at the time. ‘Ever since then, we’ve been partners in crime.’
By 2002, the two spoke at the World Economic Forum as they called on governments, industries and nonprofit organizations to substantially increase and sustain development funding for global health.
‘Health spending should be dramatically increased because we know it works,’ Gates said in a statement at the time. ‘Though the problems are complex, solutions do exist. We can bridge the gap in global health equity — and by doing so foster social and economic stability — but what we need now is the commitment to action.’
Bono added: ‘The great news is that investing in health and education in well-run, but poor, countries is highly effective.
‘That’s why it is an international scandal and moral outrage that clear plans to put kids in school, train nurses and provide essential medicines are not being funded.
‘Bill Gates’ contribution, financially and personally, is extraordinary, but it is going to take action by government before we can really get to grips with these problems.’
From there, the unlikely allies created the (RED) Foundation to, as Bono put it when speaking to Forbes in 2013 ‘not just raise the… I think it’s $207 million we have raised so far to buy AIDS drugs for those people who can’t afford them–but to create heat and excitement around the issue of solving the problem.’
The two are now so close that when the pandemic struck in 2020, Gates said the thing he missed most was being able to see Bono.
‘We do a lot of our foundation work with Bono, and he’s always so affectionate and energetic,’ Gates told actress, comedian, and writer Rashida Jones in the premiere episode of their podcast Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions.
‘And there’s some people on video, the emotional connection isn’t as strong.’
Jones then joked that Gates was going to hug Bono at the first opportunity he got, to which Gates replied: ‘Absolutely, absolutely.’
Their outing on Monday came as Gates’ ex, Melinda French Gates, spoke to the Clinton Global Initiative Crowd about what she was doing to improve the world.
In a video compiled by the Clinton Foundation of Melinda’s remarks on Monday, she said: ‘We need to invest in place, we need to invest in people where they are because they’re going to invest in everyone else around them.’
She also said: ‘We know that providing women equal access to medical care in their career is absolutely critical if we’re going to make progress in global health.
‘So that’s why I’m very excited to announce that our foundation is committing $50 million to the Paul E Farmer scholarship,’ she said, referring to the memorial fund providing need-based financial aid to deserving students interested in global health and social medicine at Harvard University.
Her efforts soon inspired another philanthropist to donate $10 million to the fund.
Bill and Melinda were divorced privately in August 2021.
The terms of it were never made public but Bill was worth around $152billion at the time, giving Melinda a 50 percent settlement of $76billion. That does not include the couple’s vast property portfolio which comprised of homes in New York, Washington, and California.