Summary: September 22, 2003: Statement by Ambassador John B. Richardson (2001-05) on behalf of the European Community. High Level Plenary Meetings devoted to the Follow up to the Outcome of the Twenty Sixth Special Session and the Implementation of the Declaration of Commitments on HIV/AIDS at the 58th Session of the General Assembly (New York)
The AIDS crisis besetting the world is not just a personal tragedy for the men, women and children suffering from the disease. It is a global economic catastrophe, because it attacks the active members of the population.
We are convinced that not only HIV/AIDS but also malaria and tuberculosis need to be tackled on many fronts at once. We have therefore taken a comprehensive approach in the EU Program for Action launched over two years ago addressing issues like peace and security, economic development and the struggle against poverty, research and trade. In total we have allocated more than € 1 billion to the Program for Action to date, equally addressing prevention, care, treatment.
We have made progress in tiered pricing of medicines, an approach we proposed a few years ago and which has just received a boost through the adoption of unprecedented EU legislation that seeks to prevent re-importation of reduced-price drugs into Europe and therefore to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to get involved. Some laboratories have already done so. We call now on other major players to show the same willingness and determination.
The European Union believes that it is possible to protect scientific innovations while preserving the right of all to treatment. Leading up to Cancún, we reached an agreement to lift the barriers that currently stop generic medicines being distributed in developing countries that cannot produce them on their own.
In this context, let us remember the agenda set in Cairo almost ten years ago which called for all men and women, adult or adolescent, to have the free choice to decide on their reproductive well being.
Since the beginning, the European Commission strongly supported the idea of setting up a Global Fund to finance specific actions and interventions. We were convinced that a mechanism was needed to provide additional resources, quickly step up efforts already undertaken, help us to do things better than before and achieve results fast. The Commission is a member of the Board of the Global Fund and it chairs -- or is actively represented on -- several of its committees. We pay special attention to the interests of the developing countries and participation by civil society and people living with the disease.
Within the Fund we encourage the supply of tiered-price, high-quality products to our partner countries, and the distribution of generic products. We want to introduce openness, transparency and innovation in administration -- in cooperation with all the main players.
Above all, we want to make it a viable, long-term financial instrument that can finance all quality actions proposed by our partners.
The European Commission has paid € 120 million into the Global Fund and allocated an additional 340 million for the coming years. This brings our total contribution to the Fund to € 460 million. President Prodi is personally committed to ensure that these figures represent a minimum contribution.
The EU Member States have collectively increased funding to fight against the three diseases through additional aid to national and regional programmes, UN agencies, funds and programmes and other multilateral channels. For the Global Fund alone, the European Union has pledged 2.56 billion dollars in additional resources. The EU contribution therefore now accounts for 55% of all resources pledged to the Fund.
Just before Summer the EU Council of Ministers adopted a declaration calling on Member State Governments to continue their support for the Global Fund, and if possible to increase it. But the Global Fund is not the only mechanism through which we channel support. We do so also through national budgets, in country, and this is where we, all donors, need to harmonize our procedures and coordinate our policies.
We will continue to work together to develop effective and sustainable ways of our cooperation, so that we can provide hope to those most in need.