Global AIDS Fund to start disbursing money by late 2001

The Global AIDS and Health Fund - an initiative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, would become operational by the end of this year, a UN statement said on Wednesday. The fund would be responsible for mobilising and managing funds in the battle against HIV/AIDS, the UN said.

"Only if the Fund is run in an effective and imaginative way will the various public and private donors make contributions to it," said the Secretary-General, who was briefed on Monday in New York by Dr Chrispus Kiyonga, the chairman of a transitional working group tasked with setting up the fund. The fund, the statement said, had already received nearly US $1.5 billion in commitments from a wide range of donors - governments, foundations, the corporate sector and individuals.

"Our task is to develop a new structure and working methods that will enable the Fund to spend resources most cost-effectively and in ways that produce measurable results," said Kiyonga, a Ugandan cabinet member who previously served as health and finance minister.

The decision to create a transitional working group and secretariat was taken at a meeting in July of nearly 40 donor and developing countries, as well as multilateral organisations, foundations, non-governmental groups and the corporate sector. The fund's ultimate goal would be to mobilise additional resources, and to channel them to developing countries to ensure rapid progress in addressing the huge challenges caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, said the statement. For more information on the Global Health Fund: http://www.unfoundation.org/campaigns/aids/index.asp