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Italy is first in paying 2008 contributions to the Global Fund

20 December 2007

Geneva - After receiving US$ 9.7 billion in initial pledges for 2008-2010, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has already begun receiving its first contributions honoring these pledges.

As the first country, Italy has made an early payment of its 2008 pledge of 130 million Euros. The contribution, which was made this week to the Global Fund Trustee, followed the approval by the Italian Parliament of a decree of urgent financial measures attached to the financial law for 2008.

With this contribution Italy confirms its role as a leading donor to the Global Fund. After having played a major role in its foundation, at the 2001 Genoa G8 Summit, Italy has until now channeled 790 million Euros (more than US$ 1 billion), thus providing an important part of the Global Fund's resources for the fight against the three diseases through the Global Fund.

"We are very pleased with Italy's early contribution," said Dr Christoph Benn, Director of External Relations at the Global Fund. "It gives a very positive signal to other donors."

In 2005, Italy hosted one of the preparatory meetings of the first Voluntary Replenishment of the Global Fund for the period 2006–2007. The upcoming, three-year replenishment cycle enables donors to plan their financial contributions over three years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted the first donor conference of the 2008–2010 replenishment cycle in Berlin in September. This constituted the largest single financing exercise for health ever, resulting in pledges and projected contribution for some US$ 9.7 billion. The Global Fund estimates it needs US$ 12 billion to US$ 18 billion for the three-year period. Resource mobilization will continue throughout the coming three years.

The Global Fund has a record of converting 100 percent of pledges made into actual contributions. Italy's contribution for 2008 was paid early in support of the positive momentum created by the German government at its donor conference.

The success of the new replenishment cycle will determine whether the world community will be able to meet the targets it has set to reduce the impact of these diseases, in particular to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015 and to meet the goal of universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010 for all those who need it.

Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the dominant financer of programs to fight AIDS, TB and malaria with approved funding of US$ 10.1 billion for more than 520 programs in 136 countries. So far, programs supported by the Global Fund have averted two million deaths through providing AIDS treatment for 1.4 million people, TB treatment for 3.3 million people, and through the distribution of 46 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria worldwide.