In this regard, they have called upon donor countries to urgently pledge to
the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in order to go ahead with the
sixth round of financing.
The Fund is a multi-million Dollar investment set up by the UN Programme on
HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2001 to fight also TB and Malaria.
Though Round 6 calling for proposals for funds was launched in April, there
is a risk the Global Fund Board will not fund these if sufficient resources are
not made available in the next couple of months.
An estimated 1.1 billion US Dollars is needed, however, for 2006 alone the
fund faces a funding gap of 0.9 billion Dollars while the total gap for
2006-2007 is 2.1 billion Dollars.
This came out at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS)
on HIV and AIDS, in
that ended on Friday.
The special session started on 31 May to review the progress that each
country has made in implementing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS
adopted by the General Assembly in 2001.
The meeting has since adopted a new Declaration of Commitment and Universal
Access by 2010, which the Global Fund has been tasked to spearhead in order to
achieve the set targets.
It builds on the historic 2001 declaration which was seen as turning point in
the global response against HIV and AIDS.
However, the Global Fund Board member Liz Mataka of
said the fund was at the crossroad, and there was nearly no money available for
funding new programmes so urgently required.
"The Global Fund has shown impressive results to date more than 540 000
people living with HIV now have access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment
through programmes that are financed by the fund."
This has shown an increase of 42 percent compared to December last year.
Expected outcomes in the next couple of years of currently funded programmes
are that more than 1.8 million people will be on antiretroviral therapy, 62
million clients reached with voluntary counselling and testing services for HIV,
and over 1 million orphans supported.
The Global Fund is at the moment funding more than 350 programmes in 131
countries and accounts for 20 percent of worldwide spending on HIV and AIDS.
"The Global Fund has certainly restored hope in our countries where
there was no light at the end of the tunnel," said Ms Mataka.
She said there were growing concerns among civil society organisations that
the UNGASS would only lead to vague statements that would not lead to universal
access in 2010 and reaching the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
"The need is immediate and it is real - we can make a difference if our
leaders commit to funding this innovative funding mechanism," added Ms
On behalf of the communities of people living with HIV and AIDS, Mr Javier
Hourcade Bellocq of
said: "We can continue to save lives, but we need the Fund to play a large
part in this strategy of global coordination. And this means we need money now
to fund Round 6 proposals".
Meanwhile, the UN's General Assembly President Jan Eliasson said that he had
seen a new dynamic at the UNGASS, with member states and civil society coming
together "as never before, in a genuine and vibrant interaction".
"The voices of those living with HIV, and of other groups, have been
powerfully heard, and this has contributed significantly to what I see as a
good, substantial and forward-looking Declaration," he said
The 2006 Declaration reaffirms previous goals while also calling for
ambitious national targets as the world moves toward universal access to HIV
prevention, treatment, care and support.
It also promotes the protection of human rights, gender equality and the
empowerment of women, young people and especially girls to reduce their
vulnerability to HIV.
The Declaration also calls for strengthened efforts to combat stigma and
social exclusion connected with the epidemic, endorsing full rights for people
living with and vulnerable to HIV, to education, inheritance, employment, health
care, social and health services, legal protection and HIV information,
prevention, support, and treatment.
Furthermore, it agrees that 20 to 23 billion US dollars is needed for the
AIDS response by 2010.
It calls for the development of improved drugs, diagnostics and prevention
technologies including vaccines and microbicides, and reaffirmed that the World
Trade Organisation's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights (TRIPS) does not prevent countries from protecting public health through
the production of generic drugs.
Also a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention was endorsed, with specific
mention of reducing risk-taking behaviours and encouraging responsible sexual
behaviour, including abstinence and fidelity expanded access to essential
commodities, including male and female condoms and sterile injecting equipment