Pledge of $4 billion over the next three fiscal years to the Geneva-based organization
The Obama administration is expected on Tuesday to announce a large increase in its pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and to call for reform of the organization.
The pledge of $4 billion over the next three fiscal years to the Geneva-based organization comes as governments and donors around the world have slowed increases in spending to combat HIV/AIDS, with weaker economies straining budgets.
At the same time, pressure has grown on the Global Fund to speed up disbursements, slash bureaucracy, review grant proposals more critically, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation.
The U.S.—the largest contributor by far to the Global Fund, with more than $5.1 billion donated since 2002—is pressing the organization to develop an "action agenda" with timelines and measurements, "so that all parties concerned ... can be held accountable," a senior administration official said Monday.
The U.S. will measure progress annually and as it considers contributions beyond 2013, the official said.
The Global Fund accounts for a quarter of international financing to combat HIV/AIDS, and the bulk of funds to fight tuberculosis and malaria. It is seeking to attract at least $13 billion, and as much as $20 billion, from more than 40 countries, private foundations and corporations between 2011 and 2013. Pledges for the past three years totaled $9.7 billion.
Global Fund officials welcomed the anticipated U.S. pledge and the push for reform. "We look forward to working with the U.S. to further enhance reforms we're already undertaking and to listen to any other suggestions for improvements," a spokesman said.
The U.S. pledge represents a 38% increase over the $2.9 billion it contributed between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2010. Though it has been made for multiple years rather than on an annual basis, the pledge will be subject to Congressional appropriations each year.
AIDS groups welcomed the new money, the amount and timeframe of which had been rumored, saying the increase and the multiyear commitment could help prod other nations to step up their own giving. But it falls short of a $6 billion three-year commitment which several groups pushed for and which about 100 Congressional representatives urged in a letter to President Barack Obama in July.
The pledge also comes after some countries, including France and Japan, have already announced commitments.
"It's a modest course correction," said Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance. But, he added, "it is insufficient based on projected needs and fails to leverage the commitments of other nations."
The Global Fund to date has provided AIDS drugs for 2.8 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatments for seven million, and provided 122 million bed nets to prevent malaria.
Some people also are wondering whether U.S. bilateral programs such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, will see their funding pared back to compensate for the money to the Global Fund.
"We are not looking at this as taking from a program and adding to another," the senior administration official said. "This is a discussion to expand services and care on all fronts."
"The three-year commitment gives the Global Fund and their private sector partners clarity and the ability to plan strategically, and that is so important," said John Tedstrom, CEO of the Global Business Coalition on AIDS. Tuberculosis and Malaria, whose members include Coca-Cola Co. and Chevron Corp.