19 April 2002


NEW YORK, 18 April (UN Headquarters) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan will address the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on 23 April at 12 noon in the Economic and Social Council chamber at Headquarters in New York. Accredited journalists are invited to attend. The 23-member Board is holding its second meeting from 22 to 24 April in New York.

The Secretary-General has been a Patron of the Global Fund since its inception. Calling the battle against AIDS one of his personal priorities, he has embarked on a campaign to spur a large-scale mobilization of political commitment and funding. One year ago, the Secretary-General laid out his vision of the essential elements for a global strategy to defeat HIV/AIDS. He outlined this in three major speeches -- in Abuja, in Philadelphia and in Geneva.

The idea of a fund was first considered 18 months ago, at the G-8 summit in Okinawa. It was then endorsed at the General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS in June 2001, and again at the G-8 Summit in Genoa in July 2001. The Secretary-General championed the Fund, and kept attention focused on it with his calls for stronger action. A Transitional Working Group was then created to work out the design and the operational details of a new Global Fund, but with a broader mandate -- to include tuberculosis and malaria.

The Working Group was made up of more than 40 representatives from developing and donor countries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, foundations, and associations of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, TB or malaria. It consulted with civil society, the private sector and academia, and, at its last meeting in December 2001, handed over its package of recommendations to the new Board. The Working Group was then dissolved.

The Global Fund is an independent, public-private partnership whose cornerstone objective is to make it possible to save more lives by reducing infections, illness and death caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, or malaria. It is designed to be a funding vehicle with low transaction costs for interventions proven to have an impact on these three diseases, supported by a rigorous process of technical review. Its method of action is to facilitate the sharing and exchange of resources and expertise across national boundaries and among private and public sectors. The three devastating diseases it targets have a global impact. Together, they are responsible for nearly 6 million deaths a year -- 10 per cent of the world’s total -- as well as tremendous social and economic hardship.

To date, industrialized and developing countries, corporations, foundations and individuals have pledged some $1.9 billion to the Fund, including $500 million pledged by the United States.

For further information, please contact: Asif Husain-Naviatti, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, telephone: 1-212-963-5602. For media accreditation please call the Department of Public Information Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, telephone: 1-212-963-6934.

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