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The Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria


15 November 2001

Asian countries urge decisions about eligibility and review criteria by end of year

BANGKOK, 15 November – Systems to disburse resources from the new Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria should capitalize on existing country and regional strategies and mechanisms to ensure that funds reach countries as quickly as possible, according to participants in a two-day meeting in Bangkok organized to inform the development of the new Fund. Over 60 representatives of 19 Asian country health and foreign ministries as well as representatives of UN organizations, civil society and NGOs gathered in Bangkok on 14 and 15 November to discuss how the new Fund should be designed to best meet the region's needs.

"The new Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is a welcome development in global health, and countries must be able to access the resources quickly. Decisions about who will be eligible and how proposals will be judged should therefore be made by the end of the year", said Dr Suwit Wibulpolprasert, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Thailand's Ministry of Public Health, and a member of the Transitional Working Group (TWG) which has been tasked with building the foundations and working principles of the Fund. "Systems to review proposals and disburse funds should utilize countries' existing coordination mechanisms and experience in addressing the three diseases."

This consultation, hosted by the government of Thailand with support from WHO is one of a series of regional meetings being arranged to solicit the input and relevant insight of representatives from countries likely to receive support from the Fund. Other meetings are being held with representatives from countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Rounding out the consultation process have been meetings with representatives of NGOs and academia.

"For the Fund to be truly international, it will have to be designed to reflect the views of all regions and countries. That is why these country consultation meetings are so important", said Mr Masakazu Toshikage, Director, Specialised Agencies Administration Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and also a member of the TWG. "Donor and recipient countries must be ready to make the decisions and develop the strategies that will get proposals submitted, reviewed and funded as soon as possible."

The TWG, comprised of nearly 40 representatives of developing and industrialized countries, UN agencies, the World Bank, the private sector, foundations and NGOs, will next meet in Brussels on 22-24 November. At this meeting – the second of three – the participants will need to make final decisions on a number of issues including governance, country implementation processes, accountability, fiduciary and legal arrangements, and frameworks for technical review of country proposals.

At its first meeting in October, the TWG reached consensus on the basic principles, purpose and scope of the Fund. At its third and final meeting in mid-December, the TWG intends to have made all the necessary arrangements to be able to hand over operational responsibility to the ultimate Board of the Fund.


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