Obama Administration Expected To Announce $4B Pledge To Global Fund

“The Obama administration is expected on Tuesday to announce a large increase in its pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and to call for reform of the organization,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The pledge of $4 billion over the next three fiscal years to the Geneva-based organization comes as governments and donors around the world have slowed increases in spending to combat HIV/AIDS, with weaker economies straining budgets,” the newspaper adds (McKay, 10/5).

At its replenishment meeting that launched Monday in New York, the Global Fund is seeking to generate between $13 and $20 billion “to fund programmes in 144 countries in the next three years,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports (10/4). According to Inter Press Service, the $13 billion “would only cover programmes already begun, with future rounds of support capped,” while support for existing as well as new programs would require “an estimated $20 billion.” Both Germany and Italy are expected to decrease their commitments to the Global Fund, the news service notes (Phakathi, 10/4).

Without meeting donor goals, global health advocates worry recent gains in the global fight against HIV/AIDS will be reversed, VOA News reports in an article that examines a joint report on HIV/AIDS released by several U.N. agencies last week (Sinha, 10/4).

“The U.S. pledge represents a 38% increase over the $2.9 billion it contributed between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2010. Though it has been made for multiple years rather than on an annual basis, the pledge will be subject to Congressional appropriations each year,” the Wall Street Journal writes. The article notes how the news of the increased U.S. commitments to the Global Fund comes as donor countries ramp up the pressure on the Global Fund “to speed up disbursements, slash bureaucracy, review grant proposals more critically, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation.”

The newspaper continues: “The U.S. – the largest contributor by far to the Global Fund, with more than $5.1 billion donated since 2002 – is pressing the organization to develop an ‘action agenda’ with timelines and measurements, ‘so that all parties concerned … can be held accountable,’ a senior administration official said Monday.” According to that official, “[t]he U.S. will measure progress annually and as it considers contributions beyond 2013,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the newspaper, “Global Fund officials welcomed the anticipated U.S. pledge and the push for reform. ‘We look forward to working with the U.S. to further enhance reforms we’re already undertaking and to listen to any other suggestions for improvements,’ a spokesman said.”

“AIDS groups welcomed the new money [expected to be announced by the Obama administration], the amount and timeframe of which had been rumored, saying the increase and the multiyear commitment could help prod other nations to step up their own giving. But it falls short of a $6 billion three-year commitment which several groups pushed for and which about 100 Congressional representatives urged in a letter to President Barack Obama in July,” the Wall Street Journal adds. The article quotes Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, and John Tedstrom, CEO of the Global Business Coalition on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (10/5). 

A Kaiser Family Foundation fact sheet on the U.S. and the Global Fund is now available (October 2010).

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