Press Releases

    24 April 2002


    NEW YORK, 23 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Second Board Meeting of the Global Fund To Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in New York:

    It is a pleasure and an honour to welcome all of you to the United Nations. I am grateful for this opportunity to meet with the Board of the Global Fund and to participate in this discussion.

    First of all, let me congratulate you on a truly remarkable achievement. Less than a year has passed since the major stakeholders met to support the establishment of a fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. I commend the commitment, dedication and hard work that have gone into building the Global Fund and making it operational in such a short time.

    Let me thank all the people who have helped make that happen. And let me thank the donors -- including the many private individuals who have contributed so generously, some of whom have joined us today.

    I am honoured that the Fund has asked me to continue as patron, and I look forward to a long and productive association with you.

    I am glad that the Fund has been able to draw on and work with agencies and organizations within the United Nations family -- especially WHO and UNAIDS. The entire United Nations system will remain fully committed to helping the Fund become a success.

    If the Fund is to achieve its ambitious purpose and make a sustainable difference, this kind of close partnership must continue. Drawing on the broad resources and expertise of the United Nations system will help the Fund stay focused and lean.

    The Global Fund is more than a new channel of funding. It is a signal that the world is willing to make a decisive move to reduce the burden of these communicable diseases -- the long-standing threats of tuberculosis and malaria, and the newer and most devastating threat, AIDS.

    In that work, our vision must be ambitious. We will not make a difference by limiting ourselves to small-scale, one-off public health projects. We need to achieve a mobilization of all society in every affected nation.

    The Fund faces three challenges:

    • Moving quickly;
    • Ensuring that its resources have a maximum impact where they are most needed; and
    • Helping to mobilize further commitment and resources.

    You know better than anyone that to address the human tragedy and economic devastation caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, a rapid response is essential. The world needs to see that all the Fund’s stakeholders are capable of acting together swiftly and efficiently to deliver support for effective and sustainable responses.

    You will need to walk a tightrope -- balancing the need to work quickly with the need for careful consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. You will bring a broad range of partners to the table, and to the coordination of national responses.

    Affected communities, business, civil society and foundations must work together with governments across the full range of their health, social and economic responsibilities. That means you will need to establish sound processes and pioneer a new way of working, relying on existing structures and organizations -- as you have done so far -- so as to avoid creating new burdens of bureaucracy and duplicating effort, but also bringing new partners to the table.

    To establish international commitment, you will need to demonstrate that the resources you use have a maximum impact. We know that a scaled-up approach to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria can save lives. Now, we need to mobilize the resources for that scaling up, and disburse them strategically.

    You will need to show that effective strategies are available, can be funded and will make a difference. I know that this is a challenge the Board is addressing at this meeting, with its consideration of the first round of proposals.

    This brings us to the third challenge -- helping to mobilize additional resources. The Fund is not, cannot and should not be the only channel for a more vigorous approach to fighting AIDS and other infectious diseases, as we’ve heard the Chairman say earlier.

    We must all get across the message that the Fund is part of concerted international action for health and development. As agreed at Monterrey, we need to work towards greater coherence in the international development effort.

    We must ensure that the Fund operates as an effective complement to other actors -- whether developing country governments, bilateral aid, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations or the private sector. All of us here today come from one of those sectors. We know that each has comparative strengths in addressing the overall challenge.

    The Fund has to show that it can add value to what is already there; that it can catalyse change and action with new resources and with a new way of doing business.

    You must focus on your own comparative advantage -- your ability to attract and disburse new resources rapidly and directly, on proposals of high quality and full accountability.

    I know you will do everything possible to meet these challenges. Again, let me thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today, and I look forward to hearing your views.

    [Remarks by Board members.]

    Let me thank all the Board members for allowing me to take part in such an enriching discussion. We have heard some very interesting and thoughtful points of view here today, from a broad range of actors united in their common mission for health and development. That is exactly what this Fund should be about.

    I look forward to seeing the Board members at lunch where we can continue our discussions informally. And I congratulate you for what you have achieved so far. Thank you all for coming this morning to the United Nations.

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