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UN-backed fund needs additional $4 billion to fund AIDS, TB and malaria efforts

UN-backed fund needs additional $4 billion to fund AIDS, TB and malaria efforts

The question of how to fill an estimated $4 billion funding gap in the United Nations-backed initiative that helps countries fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria needs to be urgently addressed, donors at a meeting in the Spanish city of Cáceres stressed today, as they wrapped up a review of resource needs.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria – which helps finance national AIDS programmes – estimates 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.

“In view of the funding gap and the impact of a global economic crisis on the developing world, the Global Fund looks forward to how leaders of G-20 [Group of 20 most industrialized] countries address this situation at their summit in London on 2 April,” said Michel Kazatchkine, the Global Fund’s Executive Director.

He added that the Group of Eight (G-8) leaders will also address the same challenge when they meet in La Maddalena, Italy, in July.

Delegates gathered in Spain for the two-day Mid-Term Review meeting of the Global Fund’s Second Voluntary Replenishment process said much of the additional resources needed by the Fund would have to come from donors who have committed to increasing their official development assistance (ODA) budgets in order to meet development financing targets set at a international conference in Monterrey in 2002.

The participants, representing 28 donor countries and foundations, also called on the Global Fund to step up efforts to seek new government donors and attract more private sector contributions, according to a news release issued by the Fund.

Several donors indicated that they would soon consider making additional contributions in response to the success achieved by Global Fund programmes. The last two years have seen reductions in mortality in a number of countries for AIDS and malaria, and a continued fall in global TB prevalence that was first noted in 2004.

“We are now affecting the course of these three epidemics. In the case of malaria, in particular, we are on a trajectory to achieve universal access to bed nets by 2011 and have reason to be hopeful the Millennium Development Goal for malaria can actually be reached,” said Mr. Kazatchkine, referring to one of several development targets set by world leaders in 2000.

He added that steps were being taken to ensure efficiency gains in the Fund’s grants and in the Secretariat in areas such as travel, telecommunications and corporate procurement of goods and services.