The Alliance was among the first civil society organisations to welcome the UNAIDS World AIDS Day report on the HIV epidemic, How to get to zero: Faster. Smarter. Better. We were encouraged by the collective efforts that continue to show progress in tackling the epidemic.
But whilst we acknowledged the good news, we also highlighted the need to look behind the figures at the reality.
Just two days later - and a week ahead of World AIDS Day 2011 - our worst fears were confirmed.
The news that the Global Fund Board had decided to cancel its next funding round (known as Round 11) due to a lack of available funding has devastated civil society organisations across the Alliance global partnership.
In Africa, the Alliance’s Regional Representative, Baba Goumbala, said: “We should not be shy in saying this decision and the financial situation of the Global Fund at this moment is a disaster for Africa.” In Bangladesh, a country heavily affected by this decision, Dipak Kumar Biswas, Executive Director of HASAB said: “This is very sad news for many development organisations in Bangladesh.”
Donor contributions to the Fund are 20% less than the pledges that were made at the last replenishment meeting and it has left the Fund in the worst financial situation it has ever been in.
What makes this doubly alarming is that many donor governments signed a new Political Declaration in June, at the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, which committed (among other targets) to reaching 15 million people living with HIV with antiretroviral treatment by 2015.
We now know that those commitments are seriously in jeopardy. Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the Alliance said: “At a time when the AIDS community is celebrating the latest scientific developments and using rhetoric such as ‘turning back the tide’ and ‘ending AIDS within a generation’ – the reality for people and communities affected by HIV and AIDS couldn’t be further removed.”
Impact on communities living with HIV and AIDS
On World AIDS Day, when the civil society AIDS response should be celebrating the victories outlined in the UNAIDS global report, instead people and communities affected by HIV and AIDS (as well as TB and malaria) are trying to work out how this has happened and what devastation this will bring to projects and peoples’ lives.
Javier Hourcade Bellocq, Alliance’s regional representative in Latin America, said: "The Global Fund, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and other organisations have played a strategic role by investing resources and supporting high impact peer-to-peer interventions in communities that are highly vulnerable to HIV. In doing so they have created a more favourable political environment and strengthened civil society organisations in Latin America and around the world to ensure people can get access to HIV prevention, treatment and care. If the funding is withdrawn such targeted community programs will be stopped.”
World AIDS Day 2011 – an opportunity to fight back?
World AIDS Day – and the attention it receives in global and national media – is an opportunity to hold governments accountable for their HIV and AIDS related commitments.
Alliance Linking Organisations have a range of activities planned to raise awareness of the effectiveness of their work among governments and donors. Click here to read more >>
The Alliance International Secretariat is taking the opportunity to highlight the particular impact that HIV has on women and girls who are at higher risk of acquiring HIV by working with the UK government to showcase a one-year Alliance/UK aid project on HIV and maternal healthcare in four countries. The project demonstrates how civil society action on this issue is making a difference. Click here to see the DFID World AIDS Day page.
A public perceptions survey conducted by Ipsos MORI and commissioned by the Alliance found that nearly three quarters (73%) of the British public think it is important that the UK government maintain it’s spending on HIV programmes overseas. See the results of the survey here
The Alliance and civil society are urging donors to step up and make their commitment to fully fund the Global Fund at a mid-term replenishment meeting before the AIDS 2012 conference in July in order to continue the progress that is being made and put the new science and evidence into practice.
Read our full response to the Global Fund decision to cancel Round 11, including our call for action from donors and the Global Fund.