U.N. Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Says Canada, Other Western Countries Should Commit 0.7% of GNI to Foreign Aid
U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis on Friday told a meeting of the Public Service Alliance of Canada that it is "shameful" that Canada and other Western countries have not pledged to set a target date to commit 0.7% of gross national income to foreign aid, including aid to combat HIV/AIDS, the CP/Edmonton Journal reports. Lewis said foreign aid from Western countries "isn't keeping up with the AIDS crisis in Africa" and is a "major barrier" to distributing antiretroviral drugs in affected countries, according to the CP/Journal. The United Kingdom and Spain have pledged to meet the 0.7% funding goal by 2013 and France plans to meet the goal by 2011, according to Lewis. However, Canada, the United States and Japan have not committed to target dates. Lewis, who is Canadian, said Canada should commit to a date of 2015 or sooner (CP/Edmonton Journal, 6/4). Speaking to the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists on Saturday, Lewis said Canada's pledge of $100 million for HIV/AIDS treatment and its doubling of its contribution to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are "laudable," but the country's foreign aid budget still is "woefully inadequate" and is a "black eye" for the country internationally, according to the Edmonton Journal. Lewis said that because of budgetary surpluses in Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's refusal to set a target date to achieve 0.7% in foreign aid "makes no sense" and could be "undermining other good work the country is doing on the world stage, particularly in the fight against AIDS" (Jeffs, Edmonton Journal, 6/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.