In preparation for the Fourth Global Fund Partnership Forum that took place from June 28-30 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, many activists from around the world met on June 27 to explore new ways to movilize resources to support the Fund’s mission.
The day-long meeting, which included civil society activists from both developed and developing nations, focused on a single goal: to ensure that the Global Fund will remain alive and well.
“We need the Fund to survive and thrive, not only because it is the only mechanism for distributing money to developing nations to support their HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria programs, but it’s the only means of ensuring that those funds are used productively,” noted Enrique Chavez, director of AID FOR AIDS International’s Advocacy Department. AFAI participated in the civil society meeting through its Observatorio Latino (http://www.observatoriolatino.org).
Central to the continued well-being of the Global Fund, argued Chavez, is having developing nations take increased responsibility for raising money to support their local HIV initiatives. “The Fund can no longer sustain itself just through donations from wealthy nations,” he said. “Recipient countries have to begin sharing more in the effort to build resources.”
Activists attending the Sao Paulo meeting discussed a number of ways to accomplish this mission. One key component of an enhanced global fundraising effort is the “Debit To Health” initiative, currently being piloted by Germany and Indonesia.
“It’s a very simple concept,” Chavez explained. “Let’s say a developing nation, like Peru, owes money to a developed country, such as Spain. Under ‘Debit to Health’, a certain portion of Peru’s debt would be forgiven, provided that the debtor nation uses that portion of the money to fund its health care needs in HIV, tuberculosis or malaria.” The Global Fund would facilitate the debt negotiations between the two countries.
The role of the activist network would be to investigate potential Debit To Health opportunities – for example, which developing nations owe how much to developed nations, and which of those countries are willing to consider this innovative financial approach? The activists would then bring this information to the attention of the Global Fund, which would initiate bi-national discussions.
“The activists in Sao Paulo came out of this meeting more energized than I’ve seen them in a long time,” concluded Chavez. “I feel that we’re on the verge of taking global activist networks to a new level.”