Activists call G20 Leaders to fully fund The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

In Global by AHF

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The Fund needs $15 billion during the next 3 years
The US has committed nearly $5 billion and may decrease it if the rest of the world doesn’t pledge the other $10 billion

Russia, China, Mexico and South Africa should lead and convince G20 emerging economies to together contribute with at least $1 billion

St Petersburg, Russia. September 4, 2013, The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GF), the largest global health finance institution was created as an initiative of UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan; the Leaders of G8 countries acknowledged this need for resources in their 2000 meeting in Okinawa, Japan… The GF was finally created in 2002 mostly with the financial support of the G-8 countries and some other donors. Since then it has been able to save millions of lives from the three diseases in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Latin America, The Caribbean, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, The GF has granted resources to 151 countries all over the world and now is in the process of funding replenishment for its next 3 years and is searching for $15 billion on voluntary contributions.

Activists from South Africa (South Africa National AIDS Council, SANAC) and Mexico (AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AHF), the only two HIV organizations invited to attend the G20 Summit, expressed concern that if the GF doesn’t get its $15 billion target, many existing projects on HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria could not be granted continuation and new ones may never see the light; same way that it happened in 2011 when many donors were slow on disbursing their pledges and even some others like Italy and Spain cancelled their contributions to the GF.

“Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, specially the most affected ones by HIV such as Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda, Swaziland, Zambia, South Africa, a G20 Member, and from other regions such as Nepal, Myanmar, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras and Ukraine, heavily depend on GF grants to save lives and prevent new infections from the three deadly diseases. If G20 leaders want a healthy global economy they also need healthy populations. Leaders’ commitment in the HIV response is of high importance, we have 1000 days left to reach our global targets on the MDGs. It remains vital that our funding mechanism, the Global Fund, be allocated sufficient resources to ensure that lives are saved. HIV, TB and malaria are still pending issues that require global attention. I do believe the deliberations in St Petersburg, will get our Leaders commitment for a better healthy world”, said Mmapaseka Steve Letsike -SANAC Deputy Chairperson, and chairperson for Civil Society Forum from South Africa.

Dr. Jorge Saavedra, former Head of the National AIDS Program of Mexico and now Global Ambassador for AHF, mentioned that it is unfortunate that now that science has new tools to definitely stop new HIV infections thanks to new discoveries showing that HIV treatment also prevents new infections, the GF is facing these risks on not finding the resources to increase treatment coverage rates; until now Dr Saavedra added, there are 34 million people already living with HIV in the world and only 10 million of them are under treatment, finding and giving treatment to the other 24 million should be a global priority, otherwise the epidemic will continue growing and the consequences of not doing so in 20 years from now will be disastrous not just in terms of human lives that couldn’t be saved but also for the economies of the most affected regions.

Steve and Saavedra, agreed that nontraditional donors of the GFб that are also G20 Members, should increase or start also contributing to the GF, we call on the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) and the MISSTA (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Argentina) to jointly reach and announce $1 billion on new contributions to the GF for the next 3 years, this means about $90.9 million each or $30.3 million per year; this is nothing for the size of their economies, but do represent a significant increase on contributions to the GF. Russia is already contributing with $60 million to the GF and as Chair of the G20 could lead the other ones to follow its example as it was requested in a letter given personally to President Putin last June by Saavedra on behalf of AHF and the Delegation of Developing Countries NGOs represented at the GF Board.

Finally it was said that the US Government is pledging almost $5 billion on contributions to the GF for the next three years, but by law they can’t contribute more than one third and therefore they may reduce that amount if the rest of the world doesn’t raise the other $10 billion. Other main traditional donors to the GF are: France, UK, Japan, Germany, Scandinavian countries, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and the European Commission, but it looks highly unlikely that they all together will reach the additional $10 billion required and that’s why the help of the BRICS and the MISSTA countries is needed. We must recall to all the G20 Leaders that the war on AIDS has not been won yet, Saavedra and Steve concluded

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