Recession 'may hit AIDS funding'
Vienna, July 19, 2010
The head of the world's largest backer of programmes against HIV and AIDS said at a global conference on AIDS he feared wealthy donor countries may cut funding in the wake of global recession.
Speaking at the start of an international gathering of some 20,000 AIDS activists, scientists and sufferers in Vienna, Michel Kazatchkine, head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said it needed up to $20 billion in the next three years to sustain progress in tackling the diseases.
"I am hugely afraid. I am very concerned," Kazatchkine was quoted as saying in our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News.
"Because of the (global financial) crisis ... because of the competing priorities. I hear of many governments cutting official development aid, but I hear other governments saying that despite cuts in other areas, foreign assistance will remain - and I also hear other governments with good news. It is very up and down."
As he spoke, hundreds of protesters marched through the conference centre demanding that rich nations deliver on their promise that all those in needs of AIDS drugs should get them.
The Global Fund, set up in 2001, raises donor money every three years and in 2007 secured $10 billion for the 2008-2010 period. The next replenishment meeting is on October 5 in New York and cover the years 2011 to 2013.
"I can't believe we will get less, and I can't believe we will be flatlining, but the question is how much more we will get than we got in 2007," Kazatchkine said.
A report published at the conference by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS found that overall support for global AIDS effort from donor nations flattened out last year in the midst of global economic crisis.
Last year, the Group of Eight leading wealthy nations, the European Commission and other donor governments provided $7.6 billion for AIDS relief in developing nations, compared with $7.7 billion disbursed in 2008, it said.
Kazatchkine said its funding for AIDS, which accounts for around half the fund's spending, was split into three areas - treatment, prevention and health infrastructure for delivery.
If the Global Fund manages to get its hoped-for $20 billion for the next three years, Kazatchkine said millions of lives could be saved with HIV treatment and tens of millions of new infections could be prevented. – TradeArabia News Service