The Netherlands supports Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Between now and 2013, the Netherlands will invest €163.5 million in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. On Monday 11 July, Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen spoke with Professor Michel Kazatchkine, the executive director of the Fund, about the Netherlands’ contribution.
Mr Knapen expressed his appreciation for the good results the Fund has achieved, due in part to Dutch support. The Fund’s programmes are estimated to have saved more than 6.5 million lives over the past 10 years.
Recently, much attention has been given to financial improprieties at the Fund. The abuses were brought to light by an internal investigation and made public by the body itself. The Fund has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption, and following these incidents it has tightened control procedures, doubled the budget for internal audits and sought to recoup the missing money.
While concerned about such irregularities, Mr Knapen is satisfied about the measures taken by the Fund and its openness in communicating about the misappropriations. He therefore sees no reasons to reduce the Dutch contribution. ‘The Netherlands does not wish to either reward secrecy or punish transparency,’ said the minister.
The issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights, of which the fight against HIV/AIDS is a major part, is one of the priorities of the government’s new development policy. The Netherlands has much to offer in this field, largely on account of our open and pragmatic approach. To fight AIDS effectively, it is often necessary to move beyond taboos, such as the issue of sex among the young and the need for sex education, and also to accept that certain groups (e.g. homosexual men, drug users and sex workers) require special attention.
The Netherlands is not afraid to broach these subjects in developing countries and in international forums. The minister talked to Dr Kazatchkine about how the Netherlands can help integrate these issues into the Fund’s work.