July 23, 2001
23 July 2001—Leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) nations concluded their Summit 20-22 July in Genoa by pledging to fight AIDS and poverty in developing countries and officially launching a Global AIDS and Health Fund. Money from the Fund will be dispersed to poor countries to finance AIDS prevention and treatment programs.
The Fund, with initial donations totaling US$ 1.3 billion, was proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April. Annan praised the G-8 action but cautioned that much more money will be needed—up to US$7 to 10 billion annually: "For the first time, we are seeing the emergence of a response to this deadly disease that begins to match the scale of the epidemic itself. But the battle against AIDS will not be won without the necessary resources."
In the final Summit communique, the G-8 leaders pledged "to make the Fund operational before the end of the year," and Annan is expected to soon name a director of the Fund. The Fund will "promote an integrated approach emphasising prevention in a continuum of treatment and care," according to the G-8 declaration. However, the Fund will not provide for investment in research and development for new drugs and preventive vaccines, and IAVI has called for G-8 leaders to separately step up their commitment to AIDS-related R&D.
In addition, the G-8 leaders declared that "an effective response to HIV/AIDS and other diseases will require society-wide action beyond the health sector ... We welcome the steps taken by the pharmaceutical industry to make drugs more affordable. In the context of the new Global Fund, we will work with the pharmaceutical industry and with affected countries to facilitate the broadest possible provision of drugs in an affordable and medically effective manner."
Group of Eight nations include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States.