23 Apr 2010

The International AIDS Society (IAS) has launched a web-based letter-writing campaign that allows individuals and organisations to add their voices to the call for universal access and for an increased political and financial commitment to AIDS and the Global Fund. The campaign is targeting members of the G20.

The G20 is a group of 19 countries plus the European Union which, collectively, comprise two-thirds of world's population, 80% of world trade and 85% of global gross national product. Until recently, those attending G20 meetings were finance ministers and central bank governors. However, the G20 has been growing in stature; in 2009, it was announced that the G20 will replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations.

The G20 will meet in Toronto, Canada on 26-27 June 2010 (overlapping with the G8 meeting). Countries that have donated to the Global Fund in the past, or that are considering donating now, will meet in New York on 4-5 October 2010 to discuss their pledges to the Fund for the period 2011-2013.

The IAS "call for universal access" website is at www.iasociety.org/Default.aspx?pageId=404. The site enables anyone to send a letter to the heads of government of any or all of the G20 countries with just a few clicks of the mouse. Several different texts are provided, in English, French and Spanish, most of which are country-specific. In addition, the IAS encourages letter writers to include a personal touch and, where appropriate, to add text in the language of the country.

With respect to the Global Fund, the texts say that the Fund "has turned international investments in health into lifesaving services quickly and efficiently. Without increased financial support, however, this progress could be reversed, meaning millions more will become infected with HIV and die premature, avoidable deaths. Your leadership and influence can help change this."

The website also allows people to send a letter to the head of the African Union. That version of the letter calls on the African Union to work with G8 and G20 leaders to ensure that the global response to AIDS is high on their summit agendas.

One does not have to be from the African Union or a G20 country in order to send a letter.

In addition to the European Union, the G20 is made up of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Meanwhile, Shannon Kowalski of the Open Society Institute has posted some blog entries about Global Fund financing at http://blog.soros.org/2010/03/the-cost-of-fighting-aids-tb-and-malaria, http://blog.soros.org/2010/04/the-global-fund-for-health-if-donors-pay-up and http://blog.soros.org/2010/04/the-human-cost-of-misplaced-priorities.

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