Read Online – Annie speaking to UK MPs yesterday for The Global Fund

Read online: Annie leads call for UK to back Global Fund battle against deadly diseases
Addressing UK MPs yesterday Annie said:

“THANK YOU NICK AND THANK YOU FOR THE INVITATION TO BE HERE.
I’M VERY GRATEFUL TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK AT THIS EVENT TODAY….

THROUGHOUT MY YEARS AS AN AMBASSADOR FOR UNAIDS, I’VE COME TO APPRECIATE THAT THE GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT THE THREE DISEASES OF AIDS, TB AND MALARIA, ALONGSIDE UNAIDS, IS FUNDAMENTAL TO TACKLING AIDS AND MAKING SURE THE MONEY GETS WHERE IT’S MOST NEEDED.

WE KNOW NOW THAT ENDING AIDS IS POSSIBLE…. HIV DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A DEATH SENTENCE. WE HAVE THE TOOLS TO EFFECTIVELY DIAGNOSE AND TREAT PEOPLE…WE UNDERSTAND HOW TO PREVENT NEW INFECTIONS, AND WE HAVE LEARNED HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY DELIVER CARE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH, AND AFFECTED BY HIV.

THE UK GOVERNMENT HAS PROVIDED VITAL SUPPORT BOTH TO UNAIDS, SINCE IT WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1996, AND THE GLOBAL FUND, SINCE IT WAS SET UP FIFTEEN YEARS AGO.. AND IT MUST BE SAID THAT BRITAIN HAS PLAYED A LEADING ROLE IN THE GLOBAL RESPONSE.

AS A RESULT OF OUR GLOBAL LEADERSHIP IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, THE UK IS RESPECTED FOR IT’S CONTRIBUTION AND EXPERTISE. AS A COUNTRY, WE CAN BE VERY PROUD TO BE PLAYING OUR PART IN ADDRESSING EXTREME POVERTY AND THE WORLD’S DEADLIEST DISEASES….AND WE MUST ENSURE THIS CONTINUES.

IN THE LAST DECADE, ACROSS ALL THREE DISEASES, AN ESTIMATED 17 MILLION LIVES HAVE BEEN SAVED, AND THERE HAS BEEN A ONE -THIRD DECLINE IN DEATHS.
WE’VE TRULY MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS, BUT THERE IS STILL A VERY LONG WAY TO GO.

OF THE 37 MILLION PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV – 22 MILLION STILL HAVE NO ACCESS TO HIV TREATMENT, AND LAST YEAR ALONE, THERE WERE 2.1 MILLION NEW INFECTIONS. AIDS STILL REMAINS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH OF WOMEN OF REPRODUCTIVE AGE GLOBALLY, AND THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH OF ADOLESCENT GIRLS IN AFRICA – EVERY 2 MINUTES, AN AIDS RELATED DEATH OCCURS SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD.

THESE ARE SHOCKING STATISTICS ON SUCH A SCALE THAT I ACTUALLY DON’T THINK PEOPLE GRASP THE FULL EXTENT OF WHAT THIS ACTUALLY MEANS.

AS AN HIV/AIDS CAMPAIGNER OVER THE LAST THIRTEEN YEARS, I HAVE PERSONALLY WITNESSED HOW, IN SO MANY INSTANCES, AIDS DESTROYS THE ENTIRE FABRIC OF NATIONS ON AN UNPRECEDENTED SCALE, AFFECTING EVERYONE, AT EVERY AGE LEVEL, AND FROM EVERY WALK OF LIFE…I HAVE WITNESSED THE RAVAGES OF AIDS IN COUNTRIES SUCH AS UGANDA, SOUTH AFRICA AND MALAWI, WHERE I VISITED HOSPITAL WARDS, CLINICS, ORPHANAGES AND PEOPLE’S HOMES IN TOWNSHIPS AND VILLAGES – CITIES AND REMOTE RURAL AREAS, AND I CAN VOUCH THAT IT HAS BEEN A HUMAN CATASTROPHE ON AN UNPRECEDENTED SCALE.

WORDS SUCH AS GENOCIDE OR APOCALYPSE COME TO MIND, AND I DO NOT USE THESE WORDS LIGHTLY

LET ME EXPLAIN WHY I SAY THIS..22 MILLION PEOPLE ARE LIVING WITH HIV WITH NO ACCESS TO LIFE SAVING TREATMENT….‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’ BY ANY DONOR CANNOT BE AN OPTION.

ONLY MAINTAINING CURRENT LEVELS OF GLOBAL FUNDING WILL ACTUALLY RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN HIV INFECTIONS AND AIDS RELATED DEATHS.

WITHOUT A FULLY FINANCED RESPONSE… ALL THE YEARS OF OUR HARD WORK AND INVESTMENT WILL BE COMPLETELY UNDERMINED…

AND ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL THE EPIDEMIC LATER WILL COST FAR MORE THAN COMMITTING MONEY AND EFFORT TO CONTROL THE EPIDEMIC RIGHT NOW.

RIGHT NOW IS THE CRITICAL TIME TO INVEST FURTHER IN THE GLOBAL RESPONSE.

IT IS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY IN HISTORY AND WE CANNOT LET IT SLIP AWAY.

THE UK PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN CREATING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS WHICH COMMIT US TO ENDING THE AIDS EPIDEMIC, AND THE SDG’S REQUIRE GLOBAL SOLIDARITY AND PARTNERSHIP…. WHAT BETTER WAY TO ACCOMPLISH THIS, THAN BY CONTINUING THE STRONG BRITISH LEADERSHIP ON FINANCING GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH.

3 YEARS AGO, THE UK DEMONSTRATED TREMENDOUS LEADERSHIP, BY DOUBLING THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE GLOBAL FUND, AND MAKING A PLEDGE OF UP TO ONE BILLION POUNDS… THIS IS SOMETHING WE CAN RIGHTFULLY FEEL VERY PROUD OF.

WITH THE UPCOMING REPLENISHMENT OF THE GLOBAL FUND, WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THIS STRENGTH OF UK COMMITMENT HAS NOT WANED.

IF WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT REACHING THE SDG GOAL TO END AIDS TB AND MALARIA, THE GLOBAL FUND NEEDS $13 BILLION FROM DONORS.

THAT MEANS EVERY DONOR WILL HAVE TO INCREASE THEIR CONTRIBUTION BY AN AVERAGE OF 20%.

CANADA, THE EUROPEAN UNION AND JAPAN HAVE ALREADY COMMITTED TO THIS CHALLENGE. FOR THE UK, THAT MEANS A 1.2 BILLION POUND CONTRIBUTION.

1.2 BILLION POUNDS IS WHAT THE UK NEEDS TO CONTRIBUTE TO ACHIEVING THE GLOBAL FUND’S OVERALL OBJECTIVE OF SAVING 8 MILLION LIVES, AND AVERTING 300 MILLION NEW INFECTIONS OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS.

IN BEING GENEROUS, THE UK WILL SET AN EXAMPLE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, AND ENCOURAGE OTHER DONORS TO HONOUR THEIR COMMITMENT.

THIS MEANS THE FUND COULD REACH IT’S TARGET OF 13 BILLION DOLLARS FROM ALL DONORS.

BUT, CAN WE BE ASSURED THAT THE UK’S INCREASED INVESTMENT WILL BE MONEY WELL SPENT?

DFID’S OWN REVIEWS STATE THAT THE GLOBAL FUND IS HIGHLY TRANSPARENT AND VERY GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY – RATED A+

WE REALISE THE UK GOVERNMENT IS MAKING A DECISION ABOUT OUR NATIONAL PLEDGE TO THE GLOBAL FUND AT A TIME OF HUGE POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY.

THE EU REFERENDUM HAS RAISED SIGNIFICANT QUESTIONS ABOUT THE UK’S ROLE AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD.

HOWEVER, WHATEVER HAPPENS, WE NEED TO ENSURE WE MAINTAIN THE GLOBAL INFLUENCE WE HAVE GAINED,THANKS TO OUR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION AND LEADERSHIP IN THE AIDS RESPONSE, AS WELL AS THE BROADER ISSUES OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

REALISING HOW MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN ACHIEVED FROM ONLY JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, THE ONE THING I’M MOST AFRAID OF WOULD BE TO SEE ALL THESE HARD EARNED GAINS STARTING TO GO BACK INTO REVERSE BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDING.

THAT IN MY VIEW, WOULD BE A HUMAN CATASTROPHE OF INCONCEIVABLE PROPORTIONS.

THE UPCOMING GLOBAL FUND REPLENISHMENT IN SEPTEMBER IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE UK TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE WORLD OUR COMPASSION FOR OTHERS AND DEDICATION TO DELIVERING THE SDG’S.

NOW IS THE TIME TO INCREASE OUR INVESTMENT – TO TAKE CONTROL OF THESE EPIDEMICS – AND TO END AIDS TB AND MALARIA AS PUBLIC HEALTH THREATS ONCE AND FOR ALL.”

Annie Lennox