The remarkable progress achieved in the AIDS response must be sustained, the United Nations has stressed, calling for innovative sources of financing and continued support for the Global Fund that helps countries achieve their targets in this field.
In a press statement issued yesterday, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) hailed the achievements of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since it was established 10 years ago.
“The organization has made a profound difference in saving millions of lives around the world. It has created momentum and helped countries achieve results,” said the agency, noting that the Fund has approved more than $22.6 billion in grants to 150 countries over the past decade.
Grants provided by the Fund are helping countries provide 3.3 million people access to HIV treatment, and the facility has ensured that more than one million pregnant women living with HIV have had access to antiretroviral drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV to their children.
“UNAIDS is confident, that in the Global Fund’s transition phase, its transformation plan will help deliver further results,” the agency stated, pledging to continue to work in partnership with countries and with the Global Fund to reduce risks and ensure more high-impact programmes.
“The remarkable progress achieved in the AIDS response must be sustained and accelerated,” it stressed. “UNAIDS urges the international community to urgently explore innovative sources of funding to bridge the gap in global resources for AIDS.
“It also calls on countries to revise and reprioritize AIDS investments as well as national AIDS strategies.”
Also yesterday, Michel Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, announced his decision to step down from his post by 16 March. “As the Global Fund faces a challenging year of transition, it is more important than ever that staff, partners, donors, implementers, friends and supporters of the Fund pull together to maintain the remarkable hope that the Fund has generated around the world, and to keep up the fight,” he said in a statement.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today commended Mr. Kazatchkine for his leadership of the Fund over the last five years and his steadfast dedication to the health and human rights of millions of the most vulnerable people around the world.
“The Secretary-General urges all partners to strengthen their support to the Global Fund in this time of transition,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson. “As a unique and innovative public-private partnership, the Global Fund has been instrumental in saving the lives of millions of people around the world.”
Last month Mr. Ban led a chorus of UN officials in calling for the political will, investments and determination to end the AIDS epidemic, which has now entered its fourth decade. “Momentum is on our side. Let us use it to end AIDS – once and for all,” Mr. Ban said in his message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December each year.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé had called on countries, donors and others to reach the global investment target of $22-24 billion for the AIDS response, stating that “only together can we secure the future and provide greater and long-term dividends.”