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Donors Pledge Nearly $10 Billion to Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

Donors are meeting in Berlin this week to determine how much money to give to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Fund officials say about 50 delegations from donor countries, the private sector, ngos, civil society and UN organizations are attending the meeting.

One of those at the meeting is Richard Burzynski, head of ICASO, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations. From Berlin, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about what’s been accomplished so far.

“All the countries have made their pledges and there have been projections by some countries, who are unable to pledge at this particular meeting. And what we’ve come up (with) is a total of $9.7 billion for the next three years for the Global Fund,” he says

But is that enough to meet projected funding needs from an ngo point of view? Burzynski says, “I still think we’re seeing a bit of a gap here – a gap from what we are estimating to be the demand, which has already been written up. The demand is being estimated at around $18 billion by 2010. And we’ve reached a total of about $10 billion. So, I think we’re going to have to make up some of this gap.”

However, the ICASO leader says that there’s been “some remarkable progress.” He says, “We’ve seen countries such as Spain making significant progress, significant contributions now to the Global Fund. And we’ve also seen a shift. We’ve seen four countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands – ask for more of a burden share by those rich G8 countries. They account for over 70 percent of the total resources allocated to the Global Fund. And so we have to make sure that the richest countries in the world pay their fair share. Pay the share that is going to be required for the Global Fund to really function.”

There’s a new fund-related initiative called ‘Debt2Health.’ Burzynski says, ”For the first time we’ve seen Germany cancel some of its debts to Indonesia (sic) and Indonesia in return transferring $25 million to the Global Fund…and we know that Germany has other debt to cancel with other countries and will try to make that same request. But again, countries who are signing these agreements will decide whether or not they’re going to make donations to the Global Fund. So, this is one example where it’s worked.”

The donors meeting in Berlin ends Friday.