Press Releases

    SG/SM/9602
    AIDS/84
    19 November 2004

    Resources Approved by Global Aids Fund Must Reach Those Who Need Them Quickly, New Contributions Must Follow, Secretary-General Tells Arusha Meeting

    NEW YORK, 18 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the high-level session of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, delivered today in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, by Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS):

    I am honoured to accept the invitation from the Global Fund’s Chair, Vice Chair and Executive Director to chair the Fund’s Voluntary Replenishment Mechanism conference next year.  The conference is an important response to the urgent need to develop long-term sustainable financing for the Fund.  It will not only help donors make multi-year commitments and pledges, but will also assist you in undertaking the longer-term planning necessary to fulfil your central mandate as a leading global financing instrument to support country programmes addressing AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

    At this Board meeting, you will discuss the longer-term future of the Fund, including different strategies for mobilizing additional resources to support future funding rounds.  These need to be flexible to allow for the most effective use of existing contributions and pledges, while also providing adequate guarantees of sustainability to grant recipients, particularly in ensuring ongoing treatment to patients on treatment.

    Inextricably linked to resource mobilization efforts is the equally urgent need to improve the management of grant disbursements.  The urgency of the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics demand that already committed resources reach those who need them far more rapidly than they do today.  While the necessary oversight procedures should be in place to ensure the money is being spent wisely, equal attention should be paid to overcoming system constraints to disbursement at the country level.  Such constraints can be overcome only by working with partners to strengthen key national institutions and systems.  Clearly, the Fund cannot do this alone.  But without progress in this area, it will remain difficult to persuade donors to make further contributions to the Fund.

    As we begin to scale up our efforts, we are all beginning to meet the same cross-cutting constraints.  The human capacity crisis and health system weakness are but two examples.  It is only through closer coordination and harmonization that these deeper structural issues can be tackled.

    As a key strategy for achieving this goal, and as a way to promote genuine national ownership and accountability, we can look to the “Three Ones” principles:

    -- One agreed HIV/AIDS action framework that provides the basis for coordinating the work of all partners;

    -- One national AIDS coordinating authority, with a broad-based, multi-sectoral mandate;

    -- One agreed country-level monitoring and evaluation system.

    In the Fund’s efforts to speed up implementation, it is working increasingly closely with the UN family, in particular UNAIDS.  That kind of close partnership is crucial and can greatly improve the Fund’s ability to deliver resources to those who are most in need.

    At the same time, let us never forget the original intention:  the Fund should be a channel for additional resources.  Other approaches to fighting AIDS and other infectious diseases must continue, with renewed vigour, at the same time.

    Additionality in funding is essential if we are to meet the targets to which the world’s countries committed themselves at the General Assembly’s Special Session on HIV/AIDS three years ago, and the Millennium Development Goal of halting the spread of AIDS and other major diseases by 2015.

    Halting the spread of AIDS and other major diseases is not only a Millennium Development Goal in itself; it is a prerequisite to reaching most of the others.

    The coming year will be crucial.  Next September, world leaders will meet for a five-year review of implementation of the Millennium Declaration.

    The date of 2005 is critical, because to set a clear course in the right direction, we need at least a decade of steady promotion of the right policies and priorities with the right level of resources to back them.

    In that process, the Global Fund has a key part to play.

    Support for the Fund has come from many quarters.  Allow me to reiterate the commitment of the entire United Nations system, in particular the 10 co-sponsor agencies and secretariat that make up UNAIDS.  The UN family has already made major efforts in assisting countries in the submission of proposals, and is now helping them and the Fund secretariat in grant implementation.  As demands on the United Nations and others to provide such technical assistance are bound to increase, I am pleased that you have included in your agenda the question of financing for such assistance.

    Africa provides a central focus for the work of the Global Fund -- and rightly so.  Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 58 per cent of all grant funding approved to date, in rounds one to four.

    It is more important than ever that such commitments are translated quickly to grant disbursements on the ground.

    We must ensure that the resources approved reach the people who need them as soon as possible, and that much-needed new resources follow quickly.

    Those are the key challenges facing the Fund today.

    In closing, allow me to congratulate you again on the progress of the Fund so far, and to thank you once more for your invitation to chair the Voluntary Replenishment Mechanism conference.  I wish you a most productive meeting, and I look forward to learning about the outcome.

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