07 July 2005
Geneva, 5th July 2005 - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria enthusiastically welcomes the announcement by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that Australia would immediately contribute to the Global Fund an additional AU$ 5 million (approximately US$ 3.8 million) of its three year pledge of support.
Just one month ago, the Global Fund was heartened by Australia's pledge to double its support for the Global Fund for the years 2005 to 2007. The announcement made last Friday that Australia would help to bridge the 2005 funding gap, with an additional AU$5 million contributed in the first of three years comes in response to a recent plea for additional funds to make up the current resource shortfall. This rapid response, with funds transferred to the Global Fund trust fund overnight, demonstrates Australia's laudable dedication to combating AIDS, TB and Malaria globally.
The announcement, made by Minister Downer on the eve of the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Kobe, Japan, brings Australia's overall contribution to AU$ 20 million (US$ 15 million) for 2005.
"Australia has long seen the importance of being proactive in the fight against AIDS," said Helen Evans, Deputy Executive Director of the Global Fund. "We welcome this additional support, and call upon other countries to follow Australia's example." Australia has committed a total of AU$ 75 million (US$ 56.4 million) over three years to the Global Fund.
The additional funding will be used to meet the Global Fund's current funding gap of US$ 700 million in 2005. The Global Fund estimates that it will need a total of US$ 2.3 billion to cover needs this year, including US$ 1.3 billion for the renewal of existing grants and US$ 1 billion for new grants which will be approved by the Board in September 2005. The total amount of pledges for this year currently stands at US$ 1.6 billion.