G7 Nations Propose Funding for Global AIDS Trust Fund
Italian Finance Minister Vincenzo Visco yesterday proposed a scheme for the Group of Seven nations to contribute more than $1 billion to a global AIDS trust fund, the AP/Nando Times reports. In a statement to a gathering of senior officials from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the U.N. Economic and Social Council, Visco said that at the G7's upcoming July meeting in Genoa, Italy, his nation will propose that the world's 1,000 largest corporations contribute a "minimum" of $500,000 each to an international AIDS trust fund, proposed last week by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Italy and the other G7 nations -- the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Japan -- will then match those donations "dollar for dollar, 'with the view to achieving a starting overall target of $1 billion,'" Visco, who will be a "key figure" at the summit, said. Visco's statement, read by Italian U.N. ambassador Sergio Vento, said, "The resources mobilized through the trust fund would ensure that decisive action is undertaken in the next few months to make pharmaceutical products affordable to the poorest countries, to introduce widespread preventive and curative treatments, and to encourage the development of new vaccines to fight incurrable diseases" (Lederer, AP/Nando Times, 5/1). Yesterday in his opening remarks at the conference, Annan said the meeting was being convened "against the backdrop of a most troubling forecast" of declining economic growth. He "stressed" that fighting AIDS, "especially in Africa," is "critical" to achieving the goal of halving the number of people living in "abject poverty" by 2015 -- a goal that more than 150 leaders at last September's Millenium Summit endorsed. In economic downturns, the poor "always suffer disproportionately," Annan said, when he asked the officials to "keep the needs and aspirations of the poor at the top of your agenda" (Lederer, AP/Arizona Daily Star, 5/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.