25 September 2001


NEW YORK, 24 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General will hold a meeting today with Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga, the chairman of a transitional working group tasked with setting up the new Global AIDS and Health Fund. The purpose of the meeting is to update the Secretary-General on progress achieved so far in the creation of the Fund, which is to be operational and ready to disburse funds by the end of the year. As patron of the Fund -- an international facility built on the principle and necessity of public-private partnerships -- the Secretary-General has pledged his full support to Dr. Kiyonga and his team in meeting this challenge.

"Only if the Fund is run in an effective and imaginative way will the various public and private donors make contributions to it", the Secretary-General said.

Starting with the founding contribution of the United States last May, the Fund has already received nearly $1.5 billion in commitments from a wide range of donors -- governments, foundations, the corporate sector and individuals.

"These next three months will give me some of the greatest challenges I have ever faced", Dr. Kiyonga, a Ugandan Cabinet member who served previously as his country’s Health Minister and Finance Minister, has said. "Our task is to develop a new structure and working methods that will enable the Fund to spend resources most cost-effectively and in ways that produce measurable results. The only way we can hope to achieve this task is to secure the trust, support and willingness to compromise of all the players involved. The commitment of the Secretary-General and the international community gives us optimism."

The transitional working group is assisted by a technical support secretariat (TSS), based in Brussels at the invitation of the Belgian Government. The TSS is headed by Paul Ehmer, Deputy Director of the Office of Health and Nutrition in the Global Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A multinational team of experts from donor and recipient countries, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations joins Mr Ehmer, who is seconded for this work by USAID.

The decision to create a transitional working group and secretariat was taken at a meeting in July of nearly 40 donor and developing countries, as well as multilateral organizations, foundations, non-governmental groups and the corporate sector.

The transitional working group’s mandate is to build the foundations of the Fund itself. In doing so, it will seek to ensure that resources coming into the Fund are: additional and complementary to already existing resources; linked to the achievement of measurable results; supportive of country-led processes; not likely to increase transaction costs for countries and donors; and representative of a genuine international partnership.

The Fund’s ultimate goal will be to build on the existing high-level political commitment to mobilize additional resources, and channel them to developing countries to ensure rapid progress in addressing the huge challenges caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

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