New GAA report: US and G8 must act fast to rescue Global Fund
As President Bush signed a new global AIDS bill, the Global AIDS Alliance released a new report that details how the President’s spending proposals will make the bill almost impossible to implement. The report calls on the President to immediately change course to avert a major shortfall in AIDS funding.
The bill, to be signed today in a White House ceremony, is the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003. The bill recommends (but does not mandate) $3 billion in spending on global AIDS programmes in 2004, with up to $1 billion of that for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
But the President’s actual spending proposal for direct AIDS programmes comes to only about half that amount ($1.7 billion), and cuts other programmes that assist the poorest countries. The President’s spending plan, already approved by Congress, envisions not reaching the level specified in the bill until 2006. In addition, the President has asked the Congress to provide only 5% of what the Global Fund says it needs in additional resources for 2004.
“The President wants concerned Americans to believe he is backing an emergency plan to fight AIDS,” noted Dr Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance. “But, his actual plan fails to fund what Congress clearly regards as a more realistic and balanced approach, given the scale of the epidemic. The President should sponsor an amendment to the Budget to allow for the needed additional spending on AIDS as well as other programmes that help poor countries.”
At a minimum, the Fund will need to spend $42 billion over the years 2002 to 2008, but there is little evidence donors are preparing to provide such contributions.
The report aims harsh criticism at other G7 members for failing to provide appropriate contributions to the Fund. Plus, other relatively wealthy governments outside the G7, including Australia and Portugal, have failed to donate at all, despite having the means to do so.
The G8 meeting and the subsequent Donors Conference in Paris on 16 July are vitally important upcoming opportunities for the US, the Europeans and others to show the level of commitment desperately needed.
The full 12-page Global AIDS Alliance report can be downloaded at:
Source: Global AIDS Alliance
Contact: David Bryden of Global AIDS Alliance, +1-202-549-3664