Lars Rasmussen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, ensured GF implementers that Denmark remains a strong advocate for the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups and will maintain this focus in our continued support to UNAIDS, the Global Fund and within the broader support to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
"The Government of Denmark is devoting 0.7 percent of GNI to development cooperation. We thus remain among the only five countries in the world meeting this UN target. As Denmark has previously provided above 0.7 percent, reductions on the development cooperation budget have been necessary. This calls for difficult prioritisations and decisions affecting a number of areas, including Denmark's support to HIV/AIDS."
GF Implementers group had sent a letter to The Prome Minsiter of Denmark on Oct 20, 2015 explaining their concerns about a recent plan there to cut international aid.
Here is the text:
With your governments’ long-term contribution and serious commitment to keep-up the ODA promise of over 0.7 percent, Denmark has been able to support the Global Fund for more than a decade and thus helped saving lives. It is with great concern, however, that we have learned that the Danish government is preparing a finance act that includes substantial cuts in your support to the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
We understand that you are planning for
- A 65 million DK (almost USD 10 million) cut to your Global Fund contribution for 2015 and 2016, despite commitment made by your government with the other Nordic governments during Obama’s visit in Stockholm in 2013 and at the Global Fund Replenishment meeting in 2013.
- Ending your contributions to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, IPM and IAVI.
- Decreasing the UNAIDS contribution from 45 million DKK annually to 30 million DKK (a cut of US$2,25 million).
- Cuts to all large Danish development CSOs and the small grant CS facility (CISU) funded by Danida.
- Phasing out of bilateral support to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Somalia, as well as Asian and Latin American countries.
The announced funding cuts coincide with the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals in New York last week. At that meeting world leaders called for accelerated action and smarter investments to fast-track the end of the AIDS epidemic. African Presidents and the UNAIDS Executive Director pointed to the historic opportunity to end the epidemic as well as the challenges in getting there.
Currently the world still faces an annual funding gap of US$ 12 billion globally for the AIDS response. To achieve the end of the epidemics and to prevent resurgence, front-loading investments in the AIDS response is required to ensure that no one is left behind, especially adolescents, young women and girls and key populations.
Investing in the AIDS response is not only a smart public health approach and a moral obligation, but also an economic case: for each dollar invested we get 17 dollars in return.
Additionally, at the SDG Summit, the Global Fund presented its Results Report 2015, summarizing the unprecedented gains made in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The top-line highlight is that 17 million lives have been saved, and that the Fund is on track to reach 22 million lives saved by the end of 2016.
These are remarkable results that are unique in our human history.
Better health outcomes will support the entire Sustainable Development Goals framework and not only lead to healthier lives, but also help alleviate poverty, reduce discrimination and improve economic security.
We, the members of the Global Fund Board Implementers constituencies therefore call on you to reconsider submitting this finance act to Parliament.
Denmark has always been a strong and reliable partner, at the forefront of the fight against AIDS. Now is not the time to break promises, withdraw from our collective responsibility and decrease funding. If we do not accelerate now, we risk resurgence and missing out on the historic opportunity of ending AIDS within our lifetime.