European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Poul Nielson today welcomed approval by EU Member States to accelerate the disbursement of €170 million in funding to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to be drawn from the European Development Fund (EDF).
Commissioner Poul Nielson stated: "These killer diseases deserve our full attention. Far too many lives are lost to AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The personal suffering and the threat to development caused by these epidemics demand that we act on a global scale, set in place the right policies and provide predictable financing. This is why our disbursement is being speeded up."
Together, the fifteen EU Member States and the Commission are by far the biggest donor to the Global Fund, having contributed around 55% of the total pledge to the Global Fund of USD 4.7 billion. The European Commission alone has pledged €460 million until 2006 from the general budget and the EDF, becoming the second largest single contributor. The €170 million contribution from the European Development Fund was originally meant to be spread over a four year period (2003-2006). This decision means that the full amount will be accelerated and programmed now so it can be spent quicker.
With the latest round of proposals, the Global Fund has approved grants of USD 2.1 billion for programmes in 125 countries. More than half of the funds will go to Africa, where the epidemics are threatening to destabilise whole societies and roll back forty years of development efforts by these countries.
In the context of its poverty reduction policy, the European Commission has up to date allocated a total of more than €1 billion to fight these diseases. The actions in support of the Global Fund are part of the EU Programme for Action on Accelerated Actions on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. In addition, the Commission is supporting the fight against this diseases with its regular instruments for developing countries.
In particular, to promote research for the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the EU has launched the « Europe-Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership » programme (EDCTP), to which it will contribute €200 million. On top of that, the Commission will invest another €200 million in more basic research in this field. EU Member States should contribute with a further €200 million. Additional resources will be allocated to EDCTP by other international donors.
The EU accelerated actions on communicable diseases include tiered pricing, whereby producers offer lowest possible prices at best quality to developing countries, a substantial research effort in clinical trials in developing countries, incentives for the private sector to invest in neglected diseases. The EU was also at the forefront of efforts to strike a deal within the World Trade Organisation to ensure flexibility in the WTO agreement on intellectual property (TRIPS). In September 2003 a deal was reached ensuring access to medicines for poor countries with no manufacturing capacity. All these assure that more people living in developing countries can have access to medicines and lifesaving preventatives, such as condoms and bed nets.