Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: ON Canada
Local Time: 08:33 AM
George W. Bush State of the Union
This article is much lengethier then I have posted check out the website at www.globalaidsalliance.org
.. or if your interested I can e-mail it to ya
GLOBAL AIDS ALLIANCE
January 15, 2004
Next Tuesday, January 20, President Bush is expected to claim in his State of the Union Address that he has kept his promise from last year's Address regarding the AIDS crisis.
A sense that "finally something serious is being done" is obscuring the reality of US global AIDS policy:
* The result of the Bush promise has been a slowly executed and
unilateralist program. After a whole year, less than one percent of the two million people President Bush promised in his 2003 Address would receive AIDS treatment are actually receiving it.
* Over the past year, appeals to the President to jumpstart the
program via emergency spending were ignored. Instead, the White House issued red herrings about countries' lack of capacity to absorb more funding. Incredibly, the President tried repeatedly in 2003 to stop the Congress from delivering treatment and prevention services faster and to
broader range of countries via the Global Fund .
* The outlook for the 2005 budget is also disappointing. Despite
public appeals from Evangelical leaders, AIDS experts, and others, the President is poised to request much less for 2005 than what Congress has authorized . He will propose a 63% cut in funding for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
* To go to the Moon and then on to Mars, the President now
proposes $1 billion in extra funding for NASA. But, directed to keeping the President's promise of emergency action on AIDS, right here on Earth, these funds would provide treatment to 400,000 people and prevent an additional 1.6 million infections.
* The President's Initiative will waste dollars on brand-name AIDS
medications, rather than rely on generic suppliers. And, the President has pursued a trade treaty with Central American nations that will stymie competition between brand-name and generic pharmaceuticals.
* The AIDS spending legislation that passed Congress in May also directs the President to negotiate deeper debt relief for poor nations ravaged by AIDS. Yet, while vigorously promoting debt relief for Iraq, the President has ignored this provision.
* The President is also failing to take sufficient action to
address the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Instead of ramping up action as the epidemic grows, the Bush Administration has recommended
flat funding or actual decreases in the federal AIDS safety net. The number of people on waiting lists to receive assistance in accessing AIDS medication continues to grow.
The State of the Union Address One Year Later:
Bush's Promise of Emergency Action on Global AIDS
But, one year later, it's time to assess where this promise really
stands. Is emergency action being taken? Or has his high-profile
announcement in 2003 simply given a false sense of security that
"finally something serious is being done"?
Promises not kept: Last January, the President raised the hopes of AIDS sufferers around the world when he said: "Tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief . This comprehensive plan will prevent 7 million new AIDS infections, treat at least 2 million people with life-extending drugs, and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS, and for children orphaned by AIDS." (State of the Union Address, January 28,
2003). After two years of inaction by President Bush, it appeared
something was at last being done. Yet, one year later this announcement of emergency AIDS relief, Global AIDS Alliance estimates that less than 1000 people are receiving life-saving AIDS medications through US programs. In his State of the Union speech, the President promised his program would treat "at least 2 million people." But, after one year, less than one percent of these two million people are receiving treatment via US programs
Spending in 2003 fell far short of what could effectively be used by AIDS programs in developing countries. UNAIDS stated in September, 2003, "UNAIDS estimates that the gap between projected spending in 2003 and estimated program capacity at country level is US$1.6 billion." (Progress Report on the Global Response to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, 2003,
page 20) Instead of acting quickly, it took the President six months from the State of the Union Address to nominate a coordinator to oversee initiative, and numerous staff positions in the coordinator's office remain unfilled. Appeals to the President to jumpstart the program via emergency spending were ignored. Instead, White House spokespersons issued red herrings about countries' lack of capacity to absorb more funding, even as assessments from UNAIDS and others showed AIDS
programs could effectively use more funding.
To go to the Moon and then on to Mars, the President now proposes $1 billion in extra spending. But, directed to keeping the President's promise on AIDS, these funds would provide treatment to 400,000 people and prevent an additional 1.6 million infections. Rejecting efforts to speed up the response:
The President has repeatedly tried to stop the Congress from delivering treatment and prevention services faster and to a broader range of countries. The White House sent at least three letters to the Congress in 2003 which insisted that the amount of funding the President requested, while a billion dollars less than what Congress had authorized, was perfectly adequate. Fortunately, members from both sides of the aisle rejected this contention and approved $2.4 billion for global AIDS, TB and malaria programs, a 16% increase over the White House proposal. Moderating the highly unilateralist direction of the
President's AIDS plan, they increased the amount for the Global Fund by 175% (from $200 million to $550 million in 2004). These increases are important, though they still far short of what programs could effectively utilize and what the US promised in AIDS spending legislation.
Low-balling the 2005 budget for AIDS programs:
Despite public appeals from Evangelical leaders, AIDS experts, and others, the President is poised to request much less for 2005 than what Congress has authorized. His budget for 2005 for global AIDS, TB and malaria programs is reportedly $2.7 billion, with $200 million for the Global Fund. A broad range of religious and humanitarian groups have said a minimal US contribution to global AIDS, TB and malaria efforts would be $5.4 billion. But, under the President's approach the amount will not reach the fully authorized level of $3 billion until 2006.
His proposed funding for the Global Fund in 2005 represents a 63% cut in funding levels approved by Congress for 2004 ($550 million). The Fund funding levels approved by Congress for 2004 ($550 million). The Fund says it will need $3.580 billion from all sources in 2005.
In 2001 the US was a signatory to a UN General Assembly Declaration promising $7 to $10 billion in resources for AIDS services by 2005. Yet, partly due to the US slowness, the world is far from on track to meet this target. As UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reminded the world in September 2003, ""Two years ago, the world's nations agreed that defeating HIV/AIDS would require commitment, resources and action. But, we are not on track to begin reducing the scale and impact of the epidemic by the target year of 2005." Under the President's plan, the US will provide only 18% of what the UN has stated is needed for a minimal
response to AIDS by 2005 ($10.5 billion), far less than a fair share US contribution. 20% of US funding is going to programs that do not count as progress toward this target.
Hurting the Global Fund:
The Bush administration clearly sees the Global Fund as a threat to its ability to reap credit for success in fighting AIDS. A Boston Globe article from October 2003 stated, "Two US officials described the relationship between the Global Fund and the Bush administration as tense, in part due to a wealth of positive publicity given the Global Fund, while the White House's $15 billion, five-year plan has come under criticism for emphasizing direct distributions to other countries."
The Fund is critically important because it assists populous countries where AIDS is growing fastest, and it helps support global disease surveillance. In contrast, these areas are virtually ignored by the President's approach.