Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Invest now to make AIDS history

3
OCT
2011

Distributing condoms in Mozambique © Gideon Mendel for the Alliance

The news last week that the Global Fund is under-resourced and Round 11 is delayed is devastating. There is now a real possibility that lives will be at risk and the gains we have made will be lost. Now is not the time to give up. Together we must act decisively to start to turn the tide and make AIDS history.

Getting the Global Fund house in order

The Global Fund has played a key role in saving millions of lives since it was created nearly 10 years ago. Recent aid reviews have confirmed the Fund’s critical role in addressing the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

Alarmingly, the Global Fund has announced after recalculating the money available for Round 11, there is only half of what was originally thought and that the funds will come in later than expected. The Fund has therefore announced that the deadline for proposals has been delayed by 3 months to March 2012. This throws up the disturbing possibility that new proposals will go unfunded and many lives may be put at risk.

Commitment to transparency

The Fund has also been under some scrutiny this year. As part of its commitment to transparency and accountability, reports from the Global Fund’s own independent Office of the Inspector General (OIG) uncovered the misuse of funds in some countries. This was reportedly negatively in the media despite the fact that it was the Global Fund itself that had uncovered the misuse and that the majority of the amount uncovered as misused related to grants in just four countries out of a total of 150 that the Global Fund grants to.

In early 2010, in response to these findings the Fund embarked on a reform agenda which included commissioning a High Level Independent Review Panel (HLP) report on Fiduciary Controls and Oversight Mechanisms, the results of which were published last month.

The Alliance welcomes the report and praises the Fund for its proactive stance on stamping out corruption.  From our position as a member of the Developed Country NGO Delegation on the Board of the Global Fund, we will be fully supporting the implementation of many of the recommendations as swiftly as possible.

Don’t pull back on AIDS funding

The amount of funding available for Round 11 is reflective of challenges for HIV and AIDS funding globally. Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS shows global AIDS funding was down by 10% in 2010.

However, recent work by consortia such as AIDS2031, and the publication of a new investment framework for HIV and AIDS by UNAIDS and others, has given a momentum to the belief that this is not the time to pull back on funding for AIDS.

Through our campaign What’s Preventing Prevention? the Alliance has been urging donors to turn their commitments made at the High Level Meeting on AIDS earlier this year into reality by providing appropriate levels of investment where it can make the most difference.

A call for leadership

We are at a defining moment in the AIDS response and we need to act decisively, to capitalise on scientific advances in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention and the evidence that we can scale-up key interventions in the most-needed settings.

The Alliance is backing the investment framework for HIV/AIDS which sets out a model for HIV investment and HIV programming for the next decade. It endorses work with key populations and prominently supports the key role of community mobilisation in halting AIDS.  It also shows that if we deliver now we can curb the epidemic and start reducing the costs of the response in only 5 years.

Through our linking organisations, we are working to ensure the framework is on the national agenda (National AIDS Commissions and Country Coordinating Mechanisms) and we are advocating for more high impact, precisely targeted and costed national HIV programmes.

The Alliance acknowledges the limitations of the framework (see our briefing here) but calls on UNAIDS to lead the efforts to implement the framework and strengthen the evidence for the model.  

Alternative sources of funding

Despite the global financial crisis affecting HIV funding, there are realistic and achievable solutions. Now is the time to be pushing for alternative sources of funding. Globally, NGOs and now increasing numbers of governments have been arguing for a financial transaction tax (FTT). Many UK NGOs, including the Alliance, have been campaigning hard as part of the Robin Hood Tax campaign. The reason is evident: a 0.05% tax on financial transactions could raise an estimated $700 billion per year to fund national budgets, development and climate change.  

This is a significant amount of money at a time when we see key donor mechanisms like the Global Fund struggling to raise the finance it needs. As this blog by Eva Nilsson of the Stop AIDS Alliance explains, this is “a brilliant idea on the verge of becoming a brilliant reality” since European Commission President José Manuel Barroso came out in June to support an EU-level FTT that would fill funding gaps in the EU budget.  And last month Bill Gates announced that he is backing a FTT in his report which will be presented to the G20 Leaders in Cannes.

Why not sign this petition in advance of the G20 meeting in November?

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