Annan to get Philadelphia Liberty Medal; will donate cash prize to AIDS fund

Annan to get Philadelphia Liberty Medal; will donate cash prize to AIDS fund

UN Secretary-General
Having been selected to receive a prestigious award for civic achievement, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will donate the accompanying cash grant to a proposed global fund to fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, a UN spokesman announced today.

"The Secretary-General has been named this year's recipient of the Philadelphia Liberty Medal for his role in promoting peace, social justice and economic development," spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.

The award, which is given in recognition of achievement by civic, government and business leaders, includes a cash prize of $100,000 that Mr. Annan intends to contribute to the AIDS fund.

"The Secretary-General's donation would be the first to the global fund, which is expected to cover a good portion of the $7-$10 billion required annually to deal with AIDS worldwide," Mr. Eckhard said.

The Secretary-General will receive the award at Philadelphia's Liberty Hall -- where the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution were adopted -- on 4 July, marked in the US as Independence Day.

Mr. Annan first proposed the creation of the global fund in a call to action he delivered last month at the African summit meeting in Abuja, Nigeria. Subsequently, he took his rallying cry against AIDS to the Philadelphia-based US Council on Foundations.

Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will hold a teleconference during which heads of UN agencies directly involved in the fight against AIDS will report on their increased efforts to tackle the pandemic.

"In a nutshell, the Secretary-General will make sure that all agencies are in the same war footing against the disease," the spokesman said. He noted that the participants would also review the latest developments concerning the establishment of the global fund.