Africa: Fund the Fund, 05/17/03

Africa: Fund the Fund, 05/17/03

AFRICA ACTION Africa Policy E-Journal May 17, 2003 (030517)

Africa: Fund the Fund (Reposted from sources cited below)

This posting contains an appeal from the Fund the Fund international coalition, of which Africa Action is a member. The coalition is asking organizations and individuals around the world to sign a letter demanding that the wealthy countries meeting in France on June 1-3 fulfill their commitments to provide adequate funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis,and Malaria. International organizations initiating the letter incluce the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+), the International Council of AIDS Services Organizations (ICASO), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Please clip and paste the form below and e-mail it to

In Washington yesterday, the U.S. Senate approved an authorization bill for $15 billion over 5 years for global AIDS, beginning in fiscal year 2004. President Bush is taking credit for the bill as indicating new levels of U.S. commitment. As noted below in press reports and in press releases from Africa Action and the Global AIDS Alliance, however, the bill is only potentially a step forward. Several right-wing amendments limiting the use of the funds were maintained intact from the House version. In addition, the funds will only be available if Congress also overrules President Bush's budget request which provides only $200 million for the Global Fund in fiscal year 2004.

The need for additional funds for the Global Fund immediately is widely recognized, despite the President's opposition. A report to Congress from the U.S. General Accounting Office released on May 7 found that the Global Fund has made progress, but that its ability to finance additional grants is threatened by lack of resources. "Without significant new pledges, the Fund will be unable to support all of the already approved grants beyond their initial 2-year agreements." See highlights of the report at:

And a report just released by the Global HIV Prevention Working Group (available at notes that globally fewer than one in five people at risk of infection have access to basic prevention strategies, and less than one-thrid of the estimated annual need for prevention alone is now being funded.

For additional advocacy resources related to the G8 meeting, see and

For a short background resource on the Global Fund, see

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>From the Press:

New York Times (May 17, 2003):

The measure does not actually provide money for the initiative; that will be left to House and Senate appropriators. Senate Democrats complained today that Mr. Bush's budget for 2004 includes only slightly more than half the $3 billion promised in the Senate bill. "The real test of America's resolve," said Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the Democratic leader, "is whether we fund this promise."

Washington Post (May 17, 2003)

Also rejected were proposals to require that AIDS drugs be purchased at the lowest possible price and to pledge at least $500 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The bill would permit but not require a $1 billion U.S. contribution to the fund next year, and the administration plans to donate no more than $200 million.


Sign-on Letter: Fund the Fund

PLEASE NOTE: Individual and organizational signatures for the letter below should be sent to:




The Fund the Fund campaign is a network of organizations committed to raising contributions to the Global Fund the Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. We recognize that the Global Fund is the financing mechanism for fighting the global AIDS crisis and we call upon wealthy governments to contribute the resources necessary to combat the three killers--AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria-that threaten to decimate whole societies.

Fund the Fund contends that wealthy countries have given too little money to the Global Fund and ignored the immediate, overwhelming need in the developing world for medicines and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Fund the Fund demands Heads of State commit at least the amount necessary to meet the need estimated in the third round of proposals--USD 1.4 billion according to the GFATM officials-by the time of the G8 summit in Evian, France in June 2003.

People with AIDS and their advocates-at the frontline of the AIDS crisis-and "Fund the Fund", will not allow the rich governments of the world to walk away from the Global Fund and betray the hopes of the 42 million people now living with HIV/AIDS. Heads of state must not turn their backs on millions of people in need only two years after authorizing the Fund's creation at the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001.

Individuals and organisations from anywhere in the world are welcome to sign this letter to the heads of the wealthiest counties in the world by completing the form below. The letter will be delivered to the media and heads of state at the end of May--directly before the G8 Summit in Evian. Fill out the form at the end of this email and send to

For more information on Fund the Fund goals and events, go to

Thank you.



Mr. Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada Mr. Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic Mr. Gerhard Schroeder Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan Mr. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Mr. George W. Bush, President of the United States

Dear G7 Heads of State,

The annual G8 meetings rightly prioritise action to improve the lives of the poorest people of the world. That was the impetus for commitments made at the Okinawa G8 in December 2000 to tackling AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; and again during the 2001 summit in Genoa where you formally declared your support for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (the Fund). Saving and improving lives was also the impetus for support you have expressed for increasing access to medicines in developing countries for treating these and other killer diseases.

The Global Fund is only two years old but has already committed US$1.5bn to fund high quality grant from 85 countries, and has accumulated significant successes. But without immediate, dramatic increases in funding from G7 countries, the Fund will not be able to sustain and build on these life-saving successes. The Fund's third round of grant approvals is scheduled for October 2003, and the Fund is in danger of being unable to meet the demand generated by eligible projects, because the Fund is virtually out of money.

We, the undersigned, representing concerned groups and individuals including people living with HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, from rich countries and poor countries, from the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere, call on you, the leaders of the richest countries in the world, to act urgently to ensure that desperately needed programs designed to win the war on AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria get full funding from the G7. US$1.4bn is urgently needed to fund the Global Fund's third round of grant requests this year.

According to equitable funding principles, at least US$793m should come from G7 countries by October 2003 and at least US$8.2bn to ensure successful rounds in 2004 and 2005. We also urge you to publicly support policies that promote access to lowest cost medicines, including quality generics, thereby ensuring that the greatest number of people gain access to medicines as a result of your contributions.

This must not be another G7 summit of broken promises and empty declarations. The wealthiest countries in the world have an obligation to help reverse the suffering and death caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Keeping your promise to fund the Global Fund is our best hope to reverse the devastation wrought by these diseases and see the most heavily impacted countries lift themselves out of poverty.

Yours sincerely,

Fund the Fund Campaign

International Organizations:

* Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) * International Council of AIDS Services Organizations (ICASO) * International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

National and Continental Organizations (partial listing):

* ACT UP East Bay, USA * ACT UP New York, USA * ACT UP Paris, France * ACT UP Philadelphia, USA * Action AID, UK * AEDES Foundation, Brussels * Africa Action, USA * AIDES, France * AIDS Task Force of Africa Japan Forum, Tokyo * Aidspan, USA * Association Nationale de Soutien aux Seropositifs (ANSS), Burundi * Access Working Group, European AIDS Treatment Group, European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG), Italy * German Institute for Medical Mission, Berlin, German * Grupo Portugues de Activistas sobre Tratamentos de VIH/SIDA-Pedro Santos (GAT), Portugal * Health GAP (Global Access Project), USA * Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD), Canada * LILA Cedius, Italy * The Massive Effort Campaign, Switzerland * SENSOA, Belgium * Stop AIDS Alliance, Belgium * Student Global AIDS Campaign, USA * World Development Movement (WDM), London



Individuals and organisations from anywhere in the world are welcome to sign this letter by completing the form below. If you are an organisation, please let us know whether you would be like to be listed as a member of Fund the Fund.


I am endorsing as an: [_] Organization [_] Individual [_] Both





Email address*

Would your organisation like to be a member of Fund the Fund? [_] YES [_]NO

Fund the Fund would like to send you more information as the campaign continues. Would you like to receive updates and action alerts from the Fund the Fund Action Network? [_] YES [_]NO


Africa Action Press Release

May 16, 2003


Contact: Ann-Louise Colgan (202) 546-7961

Africa Action asks: "How can Congress Claim so Much Credit for doing so very Little?"

Senate AIDS Bill moves U.S. both backward & forward in fighting AIDS in Africa

Friday, May 16, 2003 (Washington, DC) - The U.S. Senate this morning passed a five-year authorizing bill on AIDS, described by many as a huge victory and a milestone of progress in the war on AIDS in Africa. Africa Action urges a closer look at these claims.

Salih Booker, Executive Director, said this morning, "If you followed the recent votes on AIDS bills in the House and Senate, you might think that the U.S. government has finally made a major decision to provide the leadership needed in the war on AIDS. But you would be wrong."

Africa Action emphasized that both bills provide NO new money to fight AIDS this year, and authorize only the minimum that the U.S. should be providing in coming years. Booker said that, "These bills represent contradictory movement in U.S. policy -- forward movement to raise funding levels to near where they should be; but backward movement on the question of how to fight this pandemic, especially in Africa."

Conservative amendments to both the House and Senate bills restrict how the U.S. contributes to fighting AIDS in Africa. The funding for abstinence-only programs, and the measure ensuring faith-based groups who are subsidized by the U.S. government are free to oppose and denigrate condom use, represent what Booker described as "the triumph of fundamentalist dogma and ideology over science and public health, with enormous consequences for Africa."

Booker said, "Senator Bill Frist is 'Doctor Do-Little'. He does little to ensure an urgent U.S. response to Africa's AIDS crisis. Though he claims to be a champion of Africa's people and their right to health, he opposed efforts to expand the provisions of the bill to increase U.S. support."

Booker said this morning, "Such weak leadership makes hollow President Bush's call on other rich country leaders at the G8 summit next month to give more to the war on AIDS. We in the U.S. cannot afford to have such low expectations of the U.S.' commitment to Africa. $3 billion a year is only the equivalent of what Washington provides the small nation of Israel annually."

Africa Action is calling on the U.S. to focus on strengthening the international mechanism to fight AIDS by contributing at least $3.5 billion per year to the Global Fund. Africa Action is also calling for the immediate cancellation of Africa's illegitimate external debts as an essential step to support African efforts to increase their spending on health care and the fight against AIDS.



May 16, 2003 - Press Release

Contact: David Bryden, 202-549-3664

AIDS Bill Is a 'Bad Check' that will Bounce Bill Also Fails to Mandate Vitally Needed Debt Relief

WASHINGTON, May 16 -- the United States Congress has passed an AIDS bill that promises a large increase in AIDS program funding for FY 2004, up to $3 billion. But, chances of the Congress actually providing even close to the full amount authorized seem remote. As a result, the bill may do little to assist the US in leveraging contributions from other nations.

"This bill is a check given to countries fighting AIDS, but it will come back marked 'insufficient funds,'" noted Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance. "Sadly, the President, and top Congressional decision-makers like Senator Frist and Speaker Hastert seem to have little intention of actually providing this level of funding. They are playing a cruel joke on countries battling for their very survival."

In a speech on April 29, the President made clear he was sticking to his original proposal for FY 2004, $2 billion ($1.7 billion subtracting funds for research). With pressure from the President, House and Senate Appropriators could improve on that, but, given the tax cut for wealthy Americans, Congress would likely have to cut other programs to make room for additional spending. Congress would likely preserve, however, costly aid to relatively wealthy nations or military aid.

"The President says he needs this as he goes to the G8 Summit June 1. But, how can he show credible leadership when the other leaders at the Summit know he doesn't really back this? And, when he travels to Africa, surely people will demand to know why he blocked a provision that would have ensured deeper debt relief for countries fighting AIDS."

In addition, the bill uses an extreme formula for encouraging other nations to contribute to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. "This bill asks European and other nations to assume such a large share of the burden that it will prove unworkable. In that sense, it is a step backward. This and other errors could have been fixed, were it not for Senator Frist's rush to pass a bill. This bill is deeply flawed."

The bill limits US contributions to the Global Fund to a third of what all other sources, besides the US, contribute. The bill fails to include the US contribution in the total used for this calculation. So, for the US to maintain just its current level of donations, $350 million in FY 2003, other sources would have to donate $1.4 billion. An amendment by Senator Durbin to correct this obvious mistake failed, 48 to 52. Another amendment to require the purchase of drugs to combat AIDS at the lowest price possible was also rejected, 43-54.

Vitally important debt relief provisions were included, but in a non-binding form. "Despite the best efforts of many Senators, this bill betrays the hopes of Jubilee supporters and millions of people in countries living with the burden of debt, who cannot rely on President Bush to ensure debt relief is meaningful and effective. It is also deeply disappointing the Senate failed to remove impractical requirements regarding AIDS prevention strategies, to adequately emphasize orphans or to fully address the needs of women, despite important amendments offered by Senators Feinstein, Clinton, and Boxer."


Message-Id: <> From: "Africa Action" <> Date: Sat, 17 May 2003 12:21:28 -0500 Subject: Africa: Fund the Fund

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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