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AIDS Meet Ends Without Firm Commitments From Donors Dharam Shourie United Nations

A high-level United Nations meet on AIDS fell short of getting firm commitments from donors to contribute USD 20 to 23 billion by 2010 //to contain and reverse the deadly pandemic, drawing flak from the non-governmental organisations.

The NGOs and activists blasted the rich nations' reluctance to foot the bill and also the UN member states for compromising on essential elements just to get consensus.

The opposition to fixing the financial target of 20 to 23 billion dollars for donors by 2010, more than twice the current level of around eight billion dollars, came from the United States, Japan, Australia and Europeans.

The activists were particularly unhappy over the declaration, adopted by the UN General Assembly at the end of the three-day meet yesterday, avoiding the 'reality' by not mentioning prostitutes, homosexuals and drug users and instead lumping them together as 'vulnerable' groups under pressure from Islamic and Catholic nations.

But the conservative nations gave in at least on one issue and allowed expanded use of male and female condoms to be mentioned along with abstinence as tools to prevent fresh infections.

However, the declaration did not have the strong language on empowering women so that they can stand up to men on sexual issues, something which made several Islamic nations happy but did not ring well with women's groups which were expecting and had worked for a much stronger language.
Source:(PTI News)
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