G8 must keep Aids promise

Civil society organisations from around the world on Wednesday made a coordinated appeal to the Canadian government to help pressure the Group of Eight (G8) into fulfilling its aid commitments in the fight against Aids.

Five years ago, G8 countries agreed to set aside $130-billion for the fight against Aids, but recent estimates show members are on track to disburse only $107-billion.

The World Aids Campaign, a global coalition of civil society groups, is calling for the G8 to agree to a concrete, time-bound plan to achieve universal access to HIV and Aids prevention, treatment, care and support. It is also calling for commitments to replenish the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

In June Canada will host the G8 and G20 summits and civil society groups are hoping the country will use its influence as host nation to “set the agenda” and reinvigorate commitments made by the G8 at the Gleneagles Summit of 2005.

“Most governments, after 1995, did not come up with concrete interventions. What we want to see is an approach that is more practical,” said Daniel Molokele, Africa programme officer for the World Aids Campaign.

Molokele said the organisation is not as concerned with the funding shortfall as it is with the lack of planning around the use and disbursement of funds for the Aids struggle or a review mechanism by which to gauge the impact of those funds.

“For us it’s not about figures, it’s about a concrete, time-bound plan — We’re not seeing an office or a secretariat where you can knock at the door and say ‘What’s happening’? We need to be able to hold people accountable,” he said.

Molokele stressed that both donor countries — including those in Africa– and recipients of donor funds need to be held accountable for money earmarked for Aids care and prevention.

“Our message is very clear: keep the promise now.”

There are 33-million people living with HIV and Aids today, 67% of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite efforts to curb the spread of the disease, there were 2,7-million new infections in 2008.

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