Nearly $1.4 billion pledged to global fund to fight AIDS, UN reports

Nearly $1.4 billion pledged to global fund to fight AIDS, UN reports

A proposed global fund to finance the fight against AIDS and other infectious diseases has received pledges of close to $1.4 billion, according to the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, which is tracking the donations.

Italy was the most recent country to contribute to the proposed Global AIDS and Health Fund, pledging $200 million on 21 July. A day earlier, the Russian Federation came forward with a donation of $20 million. Many other countries have pledged donations to the fund, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Austria, Luxembourg, Andorra, Japan, Niger, Germany and Canada. The European Commission has also made a pledge of $100 million.

Reflecting a global partnership involving not just governments but also private companies, charitable organizations and individuals, the Fund has received pledges from the International Olympic Committee, Winterthur Insurance (Credit Suisse), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Byers Choice, Ltd. Various private individuals from around the world have so far provided contributions totalling $113,625.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who first proposed the Fund's establishment at an African summit meeting in April, donated the $100,000 grant he received when he was awarded the Philadelphia Liberty Medal on 4 July.

According to UN officials, other individuals wishing to make contributions may do so by visiting the website of the United Nations Foundation, which was originally set up to execute philanthropist Ted Turner's historic $1 billion gift in support of UN causes. Donations can also be made by phone to 001-866-AIDS-FUND. In addition, the Foundation is accepting funds by cheque made payable to "UNF - Global Fund" and mailed to the United Nations Foundation, ATTN: Global Fund, Post Office Box 21001-1899, Pasadena, CA, 91110-1899.

In June, the proposed Global AIDS and Health Fund received the firm backing of the General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS, which said the Fund should be established "to finance an urgent and expanded response to the epidemic based on an integrated approach to prevention, care, support and treatment."