31 March 2009 The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria must be fully funded if countries are to achieve the goal of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, the head of the United Nations agency tasked with coordinating the AIDS response has stressed.
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), told donors and partners gathered in the Spanish city of Cáceres for the Mid-Term Review meeting of the Global Fund’s Second Voluntary Replenishment process that many countries rely on Fund to finance their national AIDS programmes.
“Countries need predictable financing so that they can focus their efforts on achieving their universal access goals. That is why the Global Fund must be fully funded,” he told the meeting, which concludes tomorrow.
The Fund says that donor funding for the period 2008-2010 stands at $9.5 billion – $4 billion short of the expected demand of at least $13.5 billion.
Despite the current global economic downturn, Mr. Sidibé stressed the necessity of investing in delivering HIV services to the millions of people worldwide who are in need.
“We cannot let the economic crisis paralyze us. Stimulus packages and economic adjustments should be made with a human face in mind. A mother should not have to choose between continuing AIDS treatment and feeding her children. We cannot let down the 4 million people on treatment and millions more in need today,” he stated.
In a video message to the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for continued support to the Global Fund, which was established in 2002 by the international community to ensure sufficient funding to combat three deadly diseases.
“The Global Fund is helping countries to set ambitious targets. It is helping them to achieve concrete results. And it is giving affected populations a real voice in programmes and policies that affect them. I urge you to ensure it is fully funded,” he said.
The Fund’s voluntary replenishment process was established in 2004 to ensure predictable and sustainable funding, and offers an important forum for donors to exchange views and expectations and to enable them to better plan their financial commitments.
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