Browsing articles in "Development Aid"
14 August 2012
Guest Contributor

Battle against HIV being won?

Bill Bowtell, Executive Director of Pacific Friends, speaks live from the 2012 International AIDS Conference to David Weber on ABC’s Pacific Beat about successes in the global battle against the HIV.

6 August 2012
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Australia pushed on AIDS funding

As the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC draws to a close, Executive Director of Pacific Friends, Bill Bowtell spoke to Nancy Notzon on ABC Radio AM to discuss the future of Australia’s response to HIV & AIDS — both domestically and internationally.

ABC Radio AM Transcript

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Australia is being urged to double its financial contribution to the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

A leading advocacy group called the Pacific Friends of the Global Fund says enormous gains have been made in the fight against AIDS, with the number of deaths and new infections falling.

But the group’s executive director, Bill Bowtell, says the Global Financial Crisis is threatening billions of dollars in AIDS research funds.

He’s told Nancy Notzon, that it’s time for countries like Australia to make up the shortfall.

BILL BOWTELL: The problem that looks serious is the problem in Europe and in America where we have real pressures on development budgets and therefore the amounts of money that are needed to put more people on treatment and to get on top of this epidemic are really – it’s a real matter of concern.

But we have to get on top of it, we have to get more people on treatment and we have to find ways around this, what we hope is a temporary budget problem in Europe.

NANCY NOTZON: Now is this pressure on government budgets that would be donating to countries or to HIV research or is it also from private donors?

BILL BOWTELL: No the big donors have been governments, and particularly the European governments. France and Italy, Spain, the European Union and so on have been very generous donors to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, but they are in trouble and therefore their ability to fund this response is declining.

Now what that really means is that countries in Asia, countries like Australia, countries in the Middle East that are doing well, that are doing well and that have robust economies, really have to step up to the plate and assume some responsibility for funding the international response to HIV and AIDS.

NANCY NOTZON: How much money would you say you’ve lost with the lack of donors?

BILL BOWTELL: Well I think in the last few years several billion dollars, the equivalent of several billion American dollars have been under threat. And this really has to be made good in the next year or so when the Global Fund goes to the donors to support the ability to put antiretroviral therapies and pills in the mouths of the people who need them around the world in the poorest countries in the world.

NANCY NOTZON: What will it mean if this work can’t continue? What will it mean in terms of the epidemic?

BILL BOWTELL: It will mean that more people will die. At the moment about 8 million people in the world are receiving antiretroviral therapies, which is the difference between life and death. But there’s another 8 million or so who don’t receive anything at all. And those people face a very painful and grim short life, because we do not fund them to get the antiretroviral therapies that would save their lives.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Bill Bowtell, executive director of Pacific Friends of the Global Fund speaking there to Nancy Notzon.

31 January 2012
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Underfunding the Global Fund: a crisis for the Global Fund or a crisis for everyone?

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance released a briefing paper earlier this month called Don’t stop now: How underfunding the Global Fund impacts on the HIV response which addresses the impact of the underfunding of the Global Fund. With Round 11 of the Global Fund cancelled and new grants postponed to 2014 there is no capacity to increase the coverage of HIV responses.

… the scale-up of the worldwide HIV response will be seriously affected and important existing services will be reduced or eliminated in the absence of urgent measures. If the global community is to prevent this enormous setback threatening the health and lives of millions of people – and realise the numerous commitments made by United Nations member states through the Millennium Development Goals and at the 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS – then swift and decisive action is imperative.

The report, therefore, calls with great urgency upon donors and national governments to respond to the funding crisis, in the following three ways:

  1. Donors must honour existing pledges and increase investment to provide the Global Fund with financing (approximately $2 billion) for a new funding opportunity in 2012.
  2. National governments must increase investment in their own HIV responses and in the implementation of national AIDS strategies that reflect the epidemiology in their countries.
  3. Bilateral donors must take immediate steps to fill critical HIV service gaps that will not be covered by existing funding mechanisms.
4 November 2011
Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom

Bill Gates presents report to get G20 behind Financial Transactions Tax (FTT)

Bill Gates has submitted to the G20 group of advanced and emerging economies at a two-day summit in Cannes his report “Innovation with Impact: Financing 21st Century Development“. In the report Gates outlines recommendations to encourage innovation and new partnerships that increase the value and delivery of development aid.

One of the focus areas of the Gates report is the backing of a tax on financial transactions (FTT) to step up development efforts in order to ease poverty. Not sure what an FTT is and how it can be implemented? A recent report commissioned by UNITAID called “Tax on Financial Transactions: An implementation guide” addresses all these questions.

Bill Gates spoke with George Alagiah for BBC News on the potential of an FTT: 

The Innovation with Impact: Financing 21st Century Development report discusses the FTT on page 13:

There has been a lot of discussion lately about introducing new financial sector taxes to raise revenue for various purposes, as well as to discourage excessive risk-taking. Ideas include taxes on financial assets, combined profits and remuneration, and financial transactions. A financial transaction tax (FTT) has been widely advocated as a good way of raising additional resources for development.

FTTs already exist in many countries, where they generate significant revenue, so they are clearly technically feasible. According to the IMF, 15 G20 countries have some form of securities transaction tax. In the seven countries where the IMF estimates revenue, these taxes raise an estimated $15 billion per year.

The general recommendation for an efficient tax is a low rate on a large base. This broadly holds true for FTTs as well. Across different instruments, the tax could be sized to reduce potential economic distortions, so that the tax on equities would be slightly higher than the tax on long-dated bonds, short-dated bonds, swaps, and futures.

Some modeling suggests that even a small tax of 10 basis points on equities and two basis points on bonds would yield about $48 billion on a G20-wide basis, or $9 billion if it were confined to larger European economies. Other FTT proposals offer substantially larger estimates, in the $100 billion to $250 billion range, especially if derivatives are included.

The G20 countries will continue discussing the FTT. For those that choose to adopt it, I urge you not to use all of the proceeds as general revenue. It is critical that a portion of the money raised be reserved for investments in development.

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Pacific Friends operates as a program within the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales.

Pacific Friends

Professor Janice Reid AC
Chair
Bill Bowtell AO
Executive Director

Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.

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