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G8 : Act Up-Paris publishes a French proposal for a G8 declaration on health Chirac’s effort on aids must be at least proportional to Bush’s

05 - 21 - 2003

The French proposal for a declaration on health at the G8 summit week after next in Evian, France, dated May 13 and until now secret, was published today on the internet by aids group ACT UP-Paris.

This G8 declaration reiterates that « G8 members commit to fulfil obligations in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS » of 2001, which were to reach 10 billion dollars in annual financing for the global war against aids.

The leaders’ declaration also « welcomes the increased bilateral commitments for HIV/AIDS », meaning the 15 billion dollar effort announced last week by Washington. The French proposal by President Jacques Chirac to organise a conference about aids financing in Paris is also mentioned in the text.

At the moment, not counting the US, G8 countries’s financial support of the fight against aids is a mere 400 million dollars per year, according to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria [1]. In April, the IMF and the World Bank warned the Finance Ministers in a report [2] stating that the « if current budgetary trends continue, donor support in 2003 will still be much less than the bare minimum required for basic aids prevention and care programs », expecting the aids resource gap « to grow to USD 3.5 billion by the end of calendar year 2003, and to USD 5 billion in 2004 » [2]. France’s present financial commitment against aids for 2003 and 2004, for example, is 50 million dollars per year [1].

« Jacques Chirac keeps calling on other nations to mobilise financially against aids », commented Khalil Elouardighi of ACT UP-Paris. « In 2001 he committed his own overnment on a 10 billion dollar global target. If in Evian the US donates its share of the promised 10 billion, Chirac must do at least as well, in proportion with GDP. Otherwise the French president, who makes a lot of solidarity with Africa and the need to fight aids,will only throw ridicule on himself, and betray 40 million people with aids whose life depend on those moneys ».

President Bush has said he intends to use the 15 billion dollar bill to press other G8 leaders to donate more to aids. [« I’ll be able to sign the bill and take it to Europe with me » George W. Bush declared, « as a symbol of the great depth of compassion that our country holds for those who suffer. » « We have given the president the leverage he needs to call upon the world’s wealthiest nations to join US commitment to address the aids crisis » added Senate majority leader Bill Frist [3].

« If Chirac does not respond in kind to Bush’s 15 billion dollar effort against aids, he will have proved that not only the US is the world’s only power by military might, but also by commitment to help developing nations » said Chloe Forette of aids NGO Planet Africa. « If France’s GDP is a sixth of that of the US, then Chirac must react before Evian by announcing now a 500 million euro French effort against aids ».

Notes

[1] Pledges and Contributions 2001-2003, March 31 2003, Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

[2] Progress Report and Critical Next Steps in Scaling Up : Addendum - Fighting HIV/AIDS, April 1 2003, World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

[3] « Senate Approves AIDS Bill, Pleasing White House », May 2003, New York Times.

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