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US extends Global AIDS Fund contribution deadline
Saturday 7 May 2005
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AFRICA: US extends Global AIDS Fund contribution deadline

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

©  Global Fund

The Global Fund will need US $3.5 billion in 2005

JOHANNESBURG, 24 August (PLUSNEWS) - The United States' announcement last week that it would give developed countries until the end of September to fulfil their pledges to the Global AIDS Fund, before deciding to limit its own contribution, has been seen by analysts as a "flexible move".

But the survival of the Fund was still a cause for concern, Global AIDS Alliance communication officer David Bryden told PlusNews.

"We welcome the flexibility on the part of the [US] administration, but we still take issue with the fact that the overall policy is meant to undermine the Global Fund," Bryden added.

In January the US Congress authorised US $547 million for the Fund, but legislation limits the US contribution to one-third of the total given by other governments and private contributors.

Initially, the cut-off date for other wealthy countries to meet their two-thirds of the $1.1 billion needed by the Fund was 1 July. US Global Coordinator Randall Tobias subsequently announced the extension, saying that the worldwide contribution to the Fund fell $240 million short.

"This shouldn't be seen as a threat by the US government. This is more like a reminder and an invitation for other countries to come to the party," a US embassy spokeswoman in South Africa, Judy Moon, told PlusNews.

According to Moon, the one-third limit was created to encourage other countries to increase their contributions. "The US government shouldn't be the only one contributing. While there has been a lack of response from the rest of the world, we are putting our money where our mouth is," she added.

But Global Fund spokesman Jon Liden said other countries were "coming to the table". Unlike the US, other countries operated differently and would only start fulfilling their pledges later in the year. The Fund had received pledges from other donors for "almost all" of the two-thirds required by the US.

The challenge, however, would be turning all these pledges into actual contributions in no more than 40 days. "This means trying to put a balance between putting pressure on donors to deliver, but not upsetting them and burning bridges," he commented.

Liden acknowledged that the Fund might not receive the full US contribution of $547 million. "But it doesn't leave us with a dire shortfall this year," he noted.

The problem would arise in 2005, when the Fund would need twice as much. "If we fail to make use of the $547 [million], it might be difficult trying to raise the $1.2 billion we would need from the US," he said.

The Fund will need $3.5 billion if it is to maintain its schedule of a new round of grants every eight months. The increased need was also a result of the fact that 2005 will be the first year in which grant renewals would take place, Liden pointed out.


Recent AFRICA Reports
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 232, 6 May 2005,  6/May/05
Low marks on report card for global HIV/AIDS commitments ,  4/May/05
Project empowers rural communities to shape own HIV/AIDS programmes,  3/May/05
Clinic tackles urgent need for AIDS/TB treatment,  2/May/05
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 231, 29 April 2005,  29/Apr/05
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

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