AHF Joins Activists Worldwide in Criticizing Sweden for Cuts to 2016 Global Fund Contribution

The Swedish Government has recently reduced its contribution to the
Global Fund from $102 million to $66 million, citing the country’s
migrant crisis as the reason for the cut in funding for AIDS,
tuberculosis, and malaria prevention and treatment programs.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation and other activists around the world
condemn Sweden’s decision, saying the cut should not come at the expense
of lifesaving AIDS treatment and lamenting the possible resulting loss
of human lives.

Healthcare Foundation
(AHF), the largest global AIDS organization
that currently serves over 605,000 patients around the world, today
urged the government of Sweden to reverse its $36 million cut in funding
to the Global
Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
for 2016 as the Spring
budget heads for Parliamentary deliberation in April. The cut was
originally approved late last year.

According to the Swedish
Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU)
, the Swedish Government
reduced its contribution from $102 million to $66 million for 2016 in an
effort to redirect funds toward managing the migrant crisis. The move
triggered a vociferous response by civil society in Sweden and abroad,
and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the cut “counter-productive.”

“As a global AIDS organization that operates in five EU countries, we
are acutely aware of the challenges associated with the migrant crisis
in the region. However, the developing world can’t afford to have
stalwart supporters of the Global Fund, like Sweden and other Nordic
countries, retreat on their commitments at this critical time,” said Zoya
, AHF Europe Bureau Chief. “Addressing the migrant crisis
should not come at the expense of the global response to the world’s
deadliest infectious disease epidemics. There will always be competing
priorities, but the donors must take a longsighted view: without a fully
funded Global Fund, future costs will be orders of magnitude higher in
terms of human lives and resources.”

If the cut is not overturned in April, it will reduce Sweden’s overall
commitment to the Global Fund for the 2014-2016 funding period. While
this does not necessarily indicate that Sweden’s pledge at the Global
Fund Replenishment Conference for the 2017-2019 grant cycle in the Fall
will be lower than that from the current funding period, other donors
might use it to justify their own reduced pledges.

“We stand in solidarity with activists and providers of healthcare from
around the world – MSF, RFSU and others – who have called on the Swedish
Parliament to reverse the cut. The Spring budget approval process is a
perfect opportunity to do so in time to fully fulfill Sweden’s original
pledge for 2014-2016, before the replenishment for 2017-2019 begins,”
said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF. “We urge Sweden to
maintain its traditional position as one of the leading supporters of
humanitarian causes, and specifically of the Global Fund. In line with a
recent announcement by the European Commission (EC) to scale up its
contribution to the Global Fund, we hope Sweden will decide to do so as
well to inspire other donor countries to follow suit.”

Recently, AHF re-launched the “Fund
the Fund
” campaign in an effort to rally civil society and advocates
in calling on the donor countries to ensure that the Global Fund meets
or exceeds its fundraising target for the Fifth Replenishment.

Earlier this month, AHF issued a statement praising the EC for
increasing its contribution to the Global Fund. In November 2015, AHF condemned
for announcing that it would cut its contribution to the
Global Fund by $20 million.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
605,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth,
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.


Ged Kenslea
Senior Director, Communications
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