UN commends Global Fund’s decision to start new funding cycle to combat AIDS

4 May 2010

The United Nations agency focusing on HIV/AIDS has welcomed a decision by the global fund which manages resources to combat the disease to start receiving proposals for grants this month, saying the decision will enable countries to maintain the momentum of efforts to stem the spread of the pandemic.

“AIDS is not over in any part of the world,” Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said in a statement yesterday.

“It is imperative that we keep resources flowing to people and communities struggling daily with the impact of HIV,” Mr. Sidibé said of the decision by the board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to begin receiving applications for grants to fund campaigns against the diseases.

UNAIDS also expressed its appreciation of the Global Fund’s decision to continue financing proposals addressing the needs of most-at-risk populations. Sex workers, injecting drug users, men who have sex with men and other key marginalized populations are often ignored by funding mechanisms, according to UNAIDS.

Setting aside resources for the most vulnerable people will ensure that communities can rapidly scale-up their AIDS response and meet the goal of zero new HIV infections, the agency added.

The Global Fund’s decision will also allow upper-middle-income and lower-middle-income countries, which often have concentrated epidemics among populations at higher risk, to access these resources.

“I am glad the Global Fund Board has approved this new reserve. Funding decisions for HIV should have a human face,” said Mr Sidibé. “Resources must go to the communities that need them most and should not be based on economic indicators alone,” he added.

New HIV infections in vulnerable populations can be prevented with proper funding, according to UNAIDS.

The agency noted that by introducing programmes such as needle exchanges, many developed countries have been able to virtually eliminate transmission of HIV among injecting drug users. Such investments in developing countries can achieve similar results, it added.

UNAIDS pledged to continue to provide technical assistance to countries, civil society organizations and the Global Fund to ensure that evidence-informed proposals are submitted for funding and produce results for people.

The Global Fund’s board confirmed on Friday the launch of its tenth call for proposals for 20 May.

Countries will present proposals which, when approved, will receive support in the fight against the three diseases. The Fund has requested that proposals be based on a comprehensive needs assessment – including efforts to scale up access to key prevention services for the three diseases through both public and non-public implementers.

Submitted proposals will first be screened for eligibility and completeness by the Global Fund Secretariat and will then be reviewed for technical merit by an independent panel of health experts, who will then recommend the selected applications to the board.

The board is expected to approve successful applications for this round during its 22nd meeting in December this year, initially for a two-year period, with an option to renew funding for a second three-year phase if the programmes achieve targets.

Last year the Global Fund approved $2.4 billion in resources for initiatives to combat AIDS, TB and malaria.


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