On World AIDS Day, the World Bank has launched a new plan to fight the disease. It says the pandemic has ?entered a new phase, with a greater need for donor and developing countries to mobilize around common strategies.?

The World Bank says there?s been an ?unprecedented? outpouring of money, as well as significant advances in treatment, prevention and care, and a growing political will to stop the spread of the disease. Nevertheless, more people are becoming infected with HIV, the AIDS virus, and more people have died from the disease in 2005 than any previous year.

Dr. Debrework Zewdie, director of the bank?s Global HIV/AIDS Program, says the bank?s new Global Program of Action aims to     strengthen its response at all levels.

?We took stock of what the bank has done on HIV/AIDS since 1986, and it?s time for us to have some kind of document to guide us internally. And also to make it clear to our partners what we will be focusing on,? she says.

She says the program is based on what?s known as the Three Ones, a theme developed several years ago.

?Many donor and recipient countries got together and they found out that our actions at country level are not coordinated. So, we came up with what we call the Three Ones principle. This is one national strategy, led by one national program and one monitoring and evaluation system,? she says.

The plan calls for more funding for national and regional HIV/AIDS programs, while strengthening local health systems; working closely with donors to speed efforts on the grassroots level; and sharing the best solutions in policy and practice that have produced results.

She says, ?Programs that work are programs that are based on evidence. If countries have a program that identifies who the most vulnerable groups are and put most of the resources to mitigate the spread of the epidemic in these particular groups, it always pays off.?

The World Bank says it will remain ?one of the major financiers of AIDS work in developing and middle-income countries.? And it says it will continue to introduce HIV/AIDS issues into ?key sectors such as education, transport, infrastructure, gender, youth, legal and the private sector.?