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Global AIDS Alliance Sounds Alarm on Potential Budget Cuts
Date:2/22/2009

AIDS Leaders Call on President Obama to Support Effective, Life-saving Programs

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amid initial indications that the administration's first budget will flat-line funding for global health, the Global AIDS Alliance is calling on President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to keep their campaign commitments to scale up the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and accelerate efforts to ensure every child around the world gets a free basic education.

"President Obama's first budget is a critical opportunity to reposition the United States' place in the world by supporting these life-saving programs," said Paul Zeitz, executive director of Global AIDS Alliance. "Flat-lining these efforts could reverse the fragile progress made over the past ten years to strengthen global collective action on health and development. It would send a signal to the poorest nations that the U.S. may not keep its commitments to them and to other donors thinking of doing the same."

Throughout the campaign, President Obama and Vice President Biden pledged their support for increased efforts in global AIDS and education. In her confirmation testimony, Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the administration's support for a Global Fund for Education and a fair-share contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

"In his inaugural address, President Obama pledged to work alongside poor nations to improve the health and education of their citizens," said Zeitz. "We hope that he will begin to keep this pledge by outlining his plans to fight global diseases and support education in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday. His language must be backed up by significant funding commitments to fight AIDS and support for education in his budget request."

PEPFAR has achieved amazing results since its launch in 2003. More than 2.1 million HIV-positive people are receiving life-saving medicines. In addition to drug treatments, PEPFAR also provides care for more than 10.1 million people affected by HIV/AIDS worldwide, including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children.

PEPFAR was reauthorized last year and the second phase expands the program's goals. PEPFAR II promises to put at least three million additional people on treatment for HIV/AIDS, prevent 12 million infections and ensure that 12 million people affected by HIV/AIDS are receiving care and support, including five million orphans and vulnerable children.

Global AIDS Alliance is urging the Obama administration to prove their commitment early. Waiting until the FY2011 budget to increase resources for AIDS and education means that funding cannot be mobilized until 2012, the third year of this presidency. The Obama administration must act decisively to begin restoring America's standing in the world and maintaining our national security interests, particularly through positive outreach to poor countries in Africa and Asia.

"We simply do not accept that President Obama is short-sighted enough to weaken the global AIDS initiative, which experts believe are the most successful international programs since the Marshall Plan," said Zeitz. "We will keep the pressure on administration officials over the next few weeks to ensure that the President's first budget includes appropriate increases for these essential and highly successful programs."

Background:

The Global AIDS Alliance is calling on President Obama to consider the following as his team finalizes the budget request for Fiscal Year 2010:

  • $2.7 billion in contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria--With increased demand demonstrated by strong country proposals, the Global Fund estimates its resource needs will grow in size to between $6 and $8 billion each year, requiring significant contributions from donors around the world, including the United States. To ensure that the U.S. maintains its one-third share for FY 2010, the President should include $2.7 billion as a U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to renew existing, successful grants and for new funding rounds.

  • $2 billion to establish a Global Fund for Education--The world currently lacks an effective multilateral institution to close the education deficit by providing access to quality basic education for the millions of children who currently go without. Education is fundamental for decreasing poverty, increasing health and well-being, and contributing to financial and social security in individual countries and globally. In order to maintain U.S. leadership on international development and to leverage other donors to increase their own contributions to education, it is essential that the Obama administration act quickly to establish a Global Fund for Education by making an initial contribution of $2 billion in his first year in office.

  • Double the 150 Account by 2012--President Obama's commitment to the U.S. role to positively impact the lives of people around the world has included a promise to double foreign assistance by 2012. The entire 150 Account is essential, since it includes a range of inter-related programs, and these depend upon sufficient staffing and other operational concerns for their success. As such, President Obama must ensure that the budget provides a minimum total of $55 billion for the 150 Account in fiscal year 2010. This will keep the U.S. on track to double the account overall by 2012. In addition to this overall increase, particular attention must be paid to the following lifesaving programs, which must be increased significantly over their current levels in order to keep the President's promises on foreign assistance: global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; basic education; family planning; child survival and maternal health; and debt relief.


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SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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