Since the perceived failure of the Global Programme for Malaria Eradication in 1969, the eradication of malaria has not been considered a feasible goal. However, in October 2007 the goal of malaria eradication was resurrected by Melinda and Bill Gates, and this aspiration has subsequently been endorsed by the WHO and by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. This change in direction of malaria control has provoked a vigorous debate within the malaria research and control communities as to whether resurrection of the goal of eradication at this point in time is helpful or likely to be counterproductive. The consensus that has emerged is that eradication of malaria, although theoretically possible, is not likely to be feasible within the medium term using existing control tools. However, malaria elimination (cessation of local transmission) is a realistic short- to medium-term goal for an increasing number of countries that are already bringing malaria under control.