Bush breaks HIV funding promise: millions will die say campaigners - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
September 7, 2005

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Bush breaks HIV funding promise: millions will die say campaigners

-07/09/05

Final pledges of money to the replenishment of the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria has fallen drastically short of what was needed to scale up the fight against these three big killers, said global civil society leaders at the climax of negotiations in London today.

The Replenishment Meeting was widely billed as the first significant test of the promises made by world leaders at the recent G8 meeting, during worldwide MakePovertyHistory protests.

The 3.7bn US dollars pledged by donors will be just enough to sustain current programmes. However there is no funding for new prevention, treatment or care programmes for 2006 and 2007.

It is suggested that 7 billion US dollars was needed to adequately address funding needs.

The US contribution is just 0.6 billion dollars for the next two years.

For the first time since the establishment of the Fund, the US contribution will be well below their target of one third.

David Bryden of US based Global AIDS Alliance said: ìThe world was counting on the United States. President Bush made an important commitment to funding one third of the Fund. By breaking that promise Bush is letting down the most vulnerable people in the world. If his commitment to Africa is real, then words are not enough.î

Judith Melby of Christian Aid, part of the MakePovertyHistory campaign, said: ìWhere is the urgency among major donors? We are disappointed that they have not used this opportunity to take a robust approach to making the G8ís historic promise of ensuring universal access to HIV treatment a reality by 2010.î

The G8 also committed to replenishment of the Global Fund as part of this effort.

Responding to a massive lobby from the public and the NGO community around MakePovertyHistory, the UK has shown strong leadership by setting a precedent in this round of funding and doubling their contribution to the Global Fund with new money.

ìWith rates of new infections outstripping current response to the pandemics, the need for international governments to honour their commitments is paramount,î said Kirsty McNeill, UK Stop AIDS campaign manager.

Anandi Yuvaraj, the Global Fund Board Member representing people living with the three diseases, said: ìThe current funding gap will have devastating effects in many of the communities that I represent, in depriving poor women, men and children from the hope of accessing life saving prevention and treatment services of TB, malaria and HIV.î

Money from the Fund has proven a vital tool in fighting the massive threat posed by HIV, TB and Malaria. Predictable and sufficient funding means that countries are able to mount a sustained response to epidemics - improving infrastructure, training personnel and ensuring the spread of prevention messages in addition to ensuring access to medicines.

In just over a week, the world will review the performance of the UN Millennium Development Goals ñ one of which is to halt and then reverse HIV, TB and Malaria.

Dr Mohga Kamal Smith, Health Policy Advisor for Oxfam, said: ìWithout massive investment from donors in health, in mechanisms such as the Global Fund, the Millennium Development Goals related to health cannot be achieved. If health MDGs are not met, all other MDGs relating to human development, poverty reduction and global security are nothing but a dream.

ìThis conference blatantly demonstrates that contributions to the Global Fund should not be based on voluntary pledges. Funding should be predictable and based on countriesí fair shares,î she continued.

Campaigners say that donors still have a chance to make a big difference if they honour and step up their commitments before the next round of pledging in June 2006.

Find books now:

Bush breaks HIV funding promise: millions will die say campaigners

-07/09/05

Final pledges of money to the replenishment of the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria has fallen drastically short of what was needed to scale up the fight against these three big killers, said global civil society leaders at the climax of negotiations in London today.

The Replenishment Meeting was widely billed as the first significant test of the promises made by world leaders at the recent G8 meeting, during worldwide MakePovertyHistory protests.

The 3.7bn US dollars pledged by donors will be just enough to sustain current programmes. However there is no funding for new prevention, treatment or care programmes for 2006 and 2007.

It is suggested that 7 billion US dollars was needed to adequately address funding needs.

The US contribution is just 0.6 billion dollars for the next two years.

For the first time since the establishment of the Fund, the US contribution will be well below their target of one third.

David Bryden of US based Global AIDS Alliance said: 'The world was counting on the United States. President Bush made an important commitment to funding one third of the Fund. By breaking that promise Bush is letting down the most vulnerable people in the world. If his commitment to Africa is real, then words are not enough.'

Judith Melby of Christian Aid, part of the MakePovertyHistory campaign, said: 'Where is the urgency among major donors? We are disappointed that they have not used this opportunity to take a robust approach to making the G8's historic promise of ensuring universal access to HIV treatment a reality by 2010.'

The G8 also committed to replenishment of the Global Fund as part of this effort.

Responding to a massive lobby from the public and the NGO community around MakePovertyHistory, the UK has shown strong leadership by setting a precedent in this round of funding and doubling their contribution to the Global Fund with new money.

'With rates of new infections outstripping current response to the pandemics, the need for international governments to honour their commitments is paramount,' said Kirsty McNeill, UK Stop AIDS campaign manager.

Anandi Yuvaraj, the Global Fund Board Member representing people living with the three diseases, said: 'The current funding gap will have devastating effects in many of the communities that I represent, in depriving poor women, men and children from the hope of accessing life saving prevention and treatment services of TB, malaria and HIV.'

Money from the Fund has proven a vital tool in fighting the massive threat posed by HIV, TB and Malaria. Predictable and sufficient funding means that countries are able to mount a sustained response to epidemics - improving infrastructure, training personnel and ensuring the spread of prevention messages in addition to ensuring access to medicines.

In just over a week, the world will review the performance of the UN Millennium Development Goals - one of which is to halt and then reverse HIV, TB and Malaria.

Dr Mohga Kamal Smith, Health Policy Advisor for Oxfam, said: 'Without massive investment from donors in health, in mechanisms such as the Global Fund, the Millennium Development Goals related to health cannot be achieved. If health MDGs are not met, all other MDGs relating to human development, poverty reduction and global security are nothing but a dream.

'This conference blatantly demonstrates that contributions to the Global Fund should not be based on voluntary pledges. Funding should be predictable and based on countries' fair shares,' she continued.

Campaigners say that donors still have a chance to make a big difference if they honour and step up their commitments before the next round of pledging in June 2006.

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