05/06/2001
Press Release
AIDS/17
SAG/92



GLOBAL AIDS, HEALTH FUND OPERATIONAL BY YEAR END


(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 4 June (World Health Organization) -— Over 200 representatives from more than 50 countries, multilateral and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private foundations and other stakeholders met in an international consultation on the proposed global AIDS and Health Fund.  They recommended that steps be taken for the Fund to become operational by the end of 2001.


Participants at the stakeholders’ meeting, which took place in Geneva on

3 to 4 June, agreed that the focus of this international fund be on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and on the importance of building on existing plans and programmes when these are working well.  They further agreed on the need to support an integrated approach to the three diseases in several regions. 


Participants from developing countries were drawn from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Health Organisation governing bodies.  They made several clear proposals to those who plan to contribute resources.  They stressed that resources should be provided in response to clear proposals from countries and to a clear appreciation of ways in which they add to existing activities.


Participants also called for transparency in the way funds are allocated and spent, for those who use funds to demonstrate their impact, and for an emphasis on the prevention of illness as well as treatment.  They requested that the fund become operational as a matter of urgency. 


Consultations will continue so that detailed preparatory work can be taken forward.  The consultations should draw on a range of stakeholders, including developing countries, donors, NGOs, private entities, private foundations and United Nations agencies.  


In closing the meeting, Health Minister Crispus Kiyonga, of Uganda, stated that “We are calling for a substantial increase in the resources needed to fight disease.  We must tailor the scale of resources to the problem at hand and find ways to obtain and use them as quickly as possible.”


During the last two years, Heads of State from developing nations have sought a massive increase in international finance to enable them to better confront HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.  At the same time, they have


recognized the need to increase their own investments to control these diseases. Last year, the “Group of 8” highly industrialized nations, chaired by the Government of Japan, agreed to support a new international partnership for effective action in the world's poorest countries.


In April this year the Secretary General issued a call to action on HIV/AIDS and proposed the creation of a global fund for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria when meeting with African Heads of State at an Organization of African Unity summit on AIDS and other infectious diseases in Abuja, Nigeria.  The United States and France have already made firm financial commitments, and other countries have indicated an intention to follow suit.  The United Nations Secretary-General intends to continue to work with all stakeholders with a view to the creation of the fund.


When opening the Geneva consultation, Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director of the co-sponsored United Nations programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), indicated that —- based on analyses of what works by the United Nations and research groups -— an effective response to AIDS in low- and middle- income countries will cost between $7 and $10 billion a year, with half of these resources needed in sub-Saharan Africa.  The best estimate of the current spending in developing countries is

$1.8 billion.


Similar work shows that the resource gap for tuberculosis and malaria totals $2 billion a year.  The new fund should make a significant contribution to filling these gaps.


In her opening remarks, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland stressed the importance of mobilizing new finance for international health and development, particularly from private sector groups and foundations.  She urged that the fund respond to different national contexts, focus on results and reward good performance.  She added that funds, once available, must be disbursed quickly and efficiently.


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