Global Fund faces $1 billion budget shortfall

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently announced that it faces a budget shortfall of more than $1 billion dollars.

The Geneva-based organization said that pledges from donor nations and private sources amounted to $11.7 billion dollars, while its expected minimum needs were at least $13 billion for 2011-2013, according to AFP.

Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine told a press conference in Paris that the Fund's desired maximum needs for the 2011-2013 period could exceed $20 billion dollars. He warned that the progress of significant programs would become much slower without the funding.

"We need more if we are going to have a world in 2015 where nearly no one dies of malaria, no more children are born infected with HIV and at least 70 to 80 percent of patients who need treatment for AIDS get it," Kazatchkine said, according to AFP.

The worldwide economic crisis that began in 2008 is at least partly to blame for the shortfall, but revelations that $25 million went missing in four African nations have prompted Germany and Sweden to suspend donations until an audit is finished later this year.

The fund, created in 2002 with money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, accounted for 20 percent of international public funding for HIV, 65 percent for tuberculosis and 65 percent for malaria, in 2009, AFP reports.

Kazatchkine plans to call for more funding during the May 26-27 meeting of the G20 nations in Deauville, France. He hopes developing nations will increase their contributions.

"The world is changing, the G8 has become the G20," Kazatchkine said, AFP reports. "It is clear that emerging nations -- Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Mexico -- should become actors in this collective, international effort."