Global AIDS fund facing bankruptcy

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, the UN-backed scheme launched last year to combat major infectious diseases, could be bankrupt within months if billions of dollars are not added to it, an activist group said on Wednesday.

The Washington-based Global AIDS Alliance said cash pledged so far for next year was little over a quarter of the $4.25 billion Fund officials feel will be necessary.

“The Fund faces de facto bankruptcy in just four months when new requests for funds will pour in,” Alliance global director Paul Zeitz said in a statement.

The Fund, which has so far amassed pledges and donations totalling $2.1 billion from governments and private donors, is already committed to paying out around $1.6 billion over the next five years to help countries fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

But a second round of requests for help from countries worst affected has been submitted for approval by experts of the Geneva-based Fund, which was set up at the instigation of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

No figures have yet been released, but sources close to the Fund told Reuters that the requests were likely to be even greater than in the first round which was held earlier this year.

In launching the Fund, Annan said some $7 to 10 billion would be needed each year from all sources, not solely the Global Fund, to keep the AIDS pandemic in che

Next year, the Fund would require a further $4.6 billion, of which only $300 million had so far been promised in the multi-year donations.

Fund officials declined to comment on figures.

“This data makes clear that the Fund faces a severe financial shortfall. If this shortfall is not rectified, there will be a failure of many (AIDS) programmes,” the Alliance said.

The activists said it was up to the G7 group of the world’s most industrialised states, along with other rich states, to shoulder the bulk of the financial burden.

The United States, which has so far pledged $500 million, must boost its contribution to $3 billion over the coming two years, or 35% of the total, they said.

Source: Reuters Health

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