by Salimah Ebrahim
G8 Research Group
Editor: Liz Adams
Volume 4, Issue 3
Friday, July 20, 2001, 7:00 p.m.
ITALY - With the number of people killed from AIDS reaching an alarming 22 million, the global fight against the disease recieved a tremendous boost when the G8 leaders joined UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in officially announcing the new Global Aids and Health Fund today in Genoa.
Annan called the global response to the threats posed by HIV/AIDS "extraordianry" and attributed it to the "magnitude and urgency of the AIDS epidemic."
Today's official annoucment comes after the historic UN Declaration on the global approach to fighting AIDS, that was generated by the June 25-27 2001 General Assembly Session on HIV/AIDS.
With the creation of the fund, a US$10-billion goal has been established. However, the US$1-billion target that Italian officials had called for this coming year, has already been reached and in fact surpassed by an estimated US$500-million.
The UN Secretary general also discussed the fund's longterm goal, which is to halve the spread of HIV/AIDS by the year 2015, and commented on the UN's mandate to "spare no effort to free humanity from living on a planet irredeemably spoilt by human activities."
The global commitment to combat the disease since its 1981 outbreak has never witnessed such a strong and unified call to action, in the area that speaks the loudest: global dollar signs.
American President George W. Bush added that the United States would increase its initial pledge of US$300-million plus only after the fund proves successful. It is assumed that the other G8 leaders would follow a similar course.
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