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DONORS PLEDGE BILLIONS TO HELP UN-BACKED FUND COMBAT AIDS, TB AND MALARIA

Source: unic.org

5 October - Donor countries, private foundations, corporations and individuals meeting at the United Nations have pledged over $11.5 billion in new funding over the next three years for the global partnership to fight three killer diseases – HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“At a time when so many Governments are tightening their belts, these commitments send a powerful message. It shows that many world leaders want to do the right thing beyond their borders, too,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who chaired the two-day replenishment meeting for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

“However, the demand for funding will outstrip even the important commitments made today. That means we must continue to mobilize more resources, more will, more quickly,” he noted at a news conference at UN Headquarters after the meeting concluded.

“This work is not just about replenishing the fund; it is about replenishing hope and dignity in people's lives,” he added.

Over the past eight years, programmes supported by the Global Fund have saved an estimated 5.7 million lives, provided AIDS treatment for 2.8 million people and TB treatment for 7 million people, and distributed 122 million bed nets to prevent malaria.

“Thanks to your work, thanks to your committed engagement, we are saving millions of lives. And we will save millions more,” Mr. Ban told participants at the meeting earlier in the day. “Together, we are writing one of the major success stories of the 21st century,” he added.

The Global Fund was created in 2002 to scale up resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need.

To date, it has committed $19.3 billion in 144 countries to support large-scale prevention, treatment and care programmes against the three diseases.

The commitments announced today come two weeks after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit in New York in which UN Member States reaffirmed their commitment to ambitious targets to eradicate disease and poverty by 2015.

While welcoming the pledges made, the Executive Director of the Fund, Michel Kazatchkine, noted that they are not enough to meet expected demand. They are also not enough to meet the MDG targets by their deadline, he told reporters, adding that he will continue a “relentless” effort to mobilize the resources necessary to reach the Goals.