It's Time for Commitment

6. SPEECH
28 Sep 2003

[The following speech was made at the July 16 "International Meeting to Support the Global Fund" by Richard Burzynski, Executive Director of ICASO, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations]

The UN Development Program published its annual Human Development Report last week... When he launched the report, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch-Brown noted a disturbing finding: "Every European cow is getting a $3 a day subsidy, whereas 40 percent of Africans live on less than $1 a day."

And in another report just out, we learn that some 400 ultra-wealthy Americans had a combined income of $69 billion in 2000... Take a moment and compare that number with the $10 billion that Kofi Annan said should be spent annually on HIV/AIDS. Sobering, isn't it?

Those nations that pay their cows $3 per day, and that have a few citizens with incomes of hundreds of millions of dollars, have worked hard to reach that point. And now they have an awesome responsibility. They must choose between acting more forcefully to alleviate unnecessary death and suffering throughout the developing world, and not doing so.

We have come to the end of a day in which every speaker seems to be an unequivocal supporter of the Global Fund. Some new pledges and policies have been announced, and repeated endorsements of the need for the Fund's solvency have been issued...


Still the Fund's future is in doubt. Sure, it may evolve into yet another worthy bureaucracy that achieves a modest impact with minimal resources. But the Fund's mission has always been to quickly channel *large* amounts of money to help *huge* numbers of people with the *best* projects. And that mission is seriously jeopardized...

We must face two clear facts:

  • the richest governments in the world are expected to provide the greatest contributions on a sustained basis, and they have not;
  • the private sector, aside from the Gates Foundation, has provided very little meaningful funding to date.

If this fund is to be a serious, sustainable and reliable mechanism proportionate to the problems we face, then put quite simply, governments and the private sector need to come up with the money.

We in the NGO sector - people living with and among these diseases, and front line workers the world over - are doing all we can to galvanize broad-based support for the Fund. We are partnering with you in every conceivable way. Organizations like mine have re-tooled our entire work plans to focus on Fund advocacy. And two extraordinary broad-based civil society advocacy campaigns are underway.

The first initiative is hosted by the Global Network of People Living With AIDS. it's called "It Starts With US" and it canvasses the globe for small donations for the Fund from the people we are all trying to save - those living with HIV and AIDS...

The second initiative is the Fund-the-Fund campaign. Over 100 organizations around the world have come together in this campaign to promote the Equitable Contributions Framework... [This] is a formula that enables the governments of each of the 47 countries whose citizens live the most comfortable lives to see what their fair share contribution to the Fund should be, based on their GDPs and their economic capacities... This policy instrument... is objective, reasonable and do-able.


The Global Fund will need to have received a total of $5 billion between its start in January 2002 and the end of 2004. Some are recommending that a reserve of $1 billion is needed in anticipation of escalating commitments beginning in 2005. That brings the total target to $6 billion - just about half of what Kofi Annan called for when establishing this Fund. Don't forget, we all started out aiming for $10 billion.

As of the start of this week, donors have pledged to contribute $2.6 billion to the Fund by the end of 2004. Thus, based on the Fund's immediate goals, there is a shortfall of about $3 billion that must be delivered by the end of 2004. These are ambitious but realistic targets...

The Fund is no longer a new experiment. it's up; it's running. And it now needs to be based on a financing mechanism that is solid, predictable, reliable, and equitable. Donor governments need to view the Fund in the same way that they view their other national priorities, like contributions to international peacekeeping, or investments in domestic school systems. The Fund must be based on a truly joint and long-term global commitment to financing the war on AIDS, TB and malaria, or it will fail...

You have the tools and you have our partnership. But only you can make the political decisions to make it happen.
 


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