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Letter to Secretary Clinton on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria

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February 7, 2011

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We write to ask for your leadership in ensuring The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria is “open for new business,” saving lives through expanding programming in 2012. We ask that you convene an emergency donor meeting in advance of the July International AIDS Conference to re-invigorate the U.S. three-­year commitment of $4 billion and use it to leverage commitments from other donors to the Global Fund. We also urge you and President Obama to use your political leadership — and the bipartisan support for The Global Fund — to achieve the U.S. pledge in 2013 without sacrificing any funding from essential bilateral AIDS, TB, and Malaria programs, which would undermine the game changing targets you and the president set at the end of last year.

As you know, an entire round of new Global Fund grants set for this year was cancelled in November in the face of a serious shortfall in funding. Among the causes of that shortfall was a lack of confidence that the U.S. would actually achieve its pledge and a failure of other major donors to make or deliver on their pledges. Since then, however, there have been very positive signals of support from a variety of countries, including new government donors and the private sector. By convening an emergency donor meeting that fills the roughly $2 billion gap with recommitted and new pledges, you could leverage U.S. commitment into global commitment and ensure programs in the neediest countries are once again scaling up to defeat AIDS, TB, and malaria in this generation.

In November we applauded when you boldly set a new course on AIDS by reminding the world that, “The goal of an AIDS-­free generation may be ambitious, but it is possible with the knowledge and interventions we have right now. And that is something we’ve never been able to say without qualification before. Imagine what the world will look like when we succeed.”

Yet as you know multilateral and bilateral programs work hand in hand. The effect of the Global Fund round cancellation is that scale up of AIDS programs is being curtailed or frozen in many countries with no new Global Fund grants for expansion expected until 2014. This will, needless to say, derail the possibility of halting the AIDS pandemic.

On malaria and tuberculosis, bold goals also have been set – the elimination of malaria in key countries in the near term and halving of transmissions and deaths for TB. Millions of lives hang in the balance as the Global Fund provides the lions share of outside financing for both of these diseases.

As you are well aware, the Global Fund is an evolving, powerful organization that has boldly transformed the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria. While improvements are ongoing to maximize efficiency and eliminate abuse, the Fund has shown impact that no global institution can match – and the surest way to stop that progress in its tracks is to put new grants on hold for two years. The patients are the ones who lose. You said it best in November: “The United States has supported reforms at the Fund to ensure that its resources are reaching those in need… But let’s remember, uncovering problems is exactly what transparency is supposed to do. It means the process is working.”

We have heard suggestions that funding from bilateral programs like PEPFAR and other parts of the global health initiative be used to fund our commitment to the Global Fund. The bold targets the president set on World AIDS day speak for themselves and are part of a broader, comprehensive approach that is badly needed. As such, we simply urge you not to rob Peter to pay Paul. There are better ways to find the funding needed for the Global Fund.

Your leadership has been key for years in fighting for the health of people in the United States and around the world. Today we need your voice and your leadership, perhaps more than ever.

We would be happy to speak with you and your team further to discuss this request.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Chris Collins, Vice President, AmFAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research
Christine Lubinski, Vice President, Infectious Disease Society of America
James E. Winkler, General Secretary, United Methodist Church, General Board of Church And Society
Leigh Blake, President, Act V: The End of AIDS
Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund
Mark Harrington, Executive Director, Treatment Action Group
Matthew Kavanagh, Director of US Advocacy, Health GAP

Cc:
Mr. Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
Dr. Eric Goosby, United States Global AIDS Coordinator
Ms. Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development
Ms. Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, NSC
Dr. Antony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergyand Infectious Diseases, NIH
Mr. Jacob Lew, Chief of Staff, Executive Office of the President