Press Releases

    16 March 2005

    Long-Term, Sustainable Finance Needed for Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Stockholm Meeting

    NEW YORK, 15 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following are Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette’s remarks to the Replenishment Meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Stockholm, 15 March:

    This gathering is a crucial building block in the work to launch the Global Fund’s Voluntary Replenishment Mechanism, and thus help secure long-term and predictable financing for the Fund.

    Let me take this opportunity to reiterate the Secretary-General’s support for and commitment to that process.  He very much looks forward to chairing the Replenishment conference in September.

    The Mechanism will respond to an urgent need:  the Fund must have long-term, sustainable sources of finance. It will help donors make multi-year commitments and pledges; and it will help the Fund do the longer-term planning, which it must do if it is to fulfil its central mandate as a channel bringing in additional resources from all over the world to support country programmes which are tackling AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

    I think we all agree that significantly more resources are needed, year on year, and over the long term, for an adequate response to the three diseases. That point was reinforced by last week’s meeting of major donors in London on “making the money work”.

    Now, we need to make sure that all the Fund’s stakeholders are indeed capable of acting together swiftly and efficiently, to deliver support for effective and sustainable responses.

    As a financing instrument, the Fund has to demonstrate, in a decisive fashion, that it can add value to what is already there; that it can attract and disburse new resources rapidly and directly, in response to proposals of high quality and full accountability.

    Let me be clear: the Fund has made tremendous progress in the three short years since the major stakeholders met to support its establishment.

    I commend the dedication and hard work that have gone into this achievement. The Fund has firmly established itself as one of the leading financial mechanisms in the global fight against the three diseases.

    The first round of grants was made to 36 countries in just three months. To date, almost 900 million dollars have been disbursed in over 100 countries.

    Yet, as we begin to scale up our efforts, we are all beginning to meet the same cross-cutting constraints. Lack of qualified people, and the general weakness of health systems in many countries, are just two examples. It is only through closer coordination and harmonization that these deeper structural issues can be tackled.

    As a strategy for achieving this goal, and as a way to promote genuine national ownership and accountability, we can look to principles known as the “Three Ones”.  In each recipient country, there should be:

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

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

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

    Funding must be secure and predictable over the long term. Only in this way can we plan ahead and ensure a stable future for treatment programmes, prevention strategies and other long-term services and investments.

    I know the Fund is making efforts to ensure effective and expeditious disbursement, continuation of grants and access to high-quality technical support.

    You are working increasingly closely with the UN family -- in particular with UNAIDS -- to speed up implementation.

    UNAIDS also stands ready to be a fully engaged partner with you in an Early-Warning System that would identify bottlenecks and gaps in the capacity of recipient countries, before the problems reach a magnitude that puts the continuation of a Fund grant at risk.

    Such a system would allow for effective and timely interventions jointly with all our partners -- in country and at the regional and global level.

    Overall, the entire United Nations system, including UNAIDS and its 10 co-sponsor agencies, stands ready to broker support to the Global Fund as a committed partner.

    But the UN system is only one of a number of partners for the Fund. These include national governments, international donors, civil society and the private sector.

    The need for the Fund to work with all of them -- including NGOs, business and foundations -- is critical.

    And we fervently hope that the private sector will be well represented among the donor community at the Replenishment Conference.

    I know that at this meeting, you will be holding discussions on ways of developing such partnerships further. I hope you will bring to the debate the required combination of innovative spirit and good judgment.

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

    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, as well as the Millennium Development Goal of beginning to reverse the spread of AIDS, malaria, and other major diseases by 2015.

    Just last week in London, UNAIDS announced that by 2008 we will need more than 20 billion dollars a year, from all sources, to fund a comprehensive response to AIDS alone. While we have witnessed a sea change in the response in recent years, global funding was still estimated at the end of 2004 to be only just over 6 billion dollars.

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

    This year is crucial.  In September -- five years after they issued the Millennium Declaration as a blueprint for building a better world in the twenty-first century -- world leaders will meet at the United Nations in New York to assess how far their pledges have been fulfilled, and to decide on the further steps that are needed.

    In many ways, the task this year will be much tougher than it was in 2000. Instead of setting targets, this time leaders must decide how to achieve them.  They must decide on a plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

    Later this month, the Secretary-General will issue his own proposals for the summit.

    He will stress that the MDGs must no longer be floating targets, referred to now and then to measure progress; rather, they must inform, on a daily basis, national strategies and international assistance alike.

    He will call for governments to tackle HIV/AIDS, and its stigma, publicly.

    And he will underline the need to allocate significantly greater resources to the fight against the major infectious diseases.

    So I hope that all of you will keep your sights firmly on your ultimate objective -- ensuring that vital resources reach the people who need them as soon as possible.

    I thank you all for your commitment, and wish you a most productive meeting.

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