Mission Leader Praises and Questions
G8 Nations on Pledges to Combat AIDS
NEW YORK, NY, June 19, 2007—The chief mission executive of The United Methodist Church has commended the major economic powers for their large pledges to overcome AIDS but wonders why they are so slow in making good on their promises.
The Rev. R. Randy Day of the General Board of Global Ministries responded to the announcement that the G8 nations—the eight major economic powers—will commit $60 billion to fight preventable diseases over the next few years.
He said he was glad that the G8, which held its 2007 summit in Germany in early June, continues to keep the issue of AIDS, particularly in Africa, before the world community.
Day said his agency is gratified that "the United States announced that it will provide $30 billion over a five year period (2009-2013). President George W. Bush is to be commended for his leadership in this area."
However, Day continued, he could not help but notice how slowly the G8 nations were in honoring such commitments, which are not new. The 2005 G8 summit pledged $50 billion, or $12 billion per year, to overcome preventable diseases, such as AIDS. Nothing like that amount was forthcoming in 2006 or 2007.
The mission leader said that The United Methodist Church has first-hand experience in dealing with AIDS in Africa and knows how serious the health threat is.
Day said that the AIDS "pandemic grows steadily worse. There is no time to lose. Pledges need to be translated into action, promises into funds by the G8 nations and all other responsible countries and organizations."
The full text of the statement follows:
The G8 and AIDS in Africa
The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church is pleased that the G8 nations—the small group of richest countries--continue to keep the issue of AIDS in Africa before the world community. We are glad that the 2007 G8 Summit, meeting earlier this month in Heiligendamm, Germany, again pledged a large sum, $60 billion, toward the prevention and treatment of AIDS and other preventable diseases, mostly on the African continent. We are gratified that the United States announced that it will provide $30 billion over a five year period (2009 to 2013). President George W. Bush is to be commended for his leadership in this area.
These are wonderful promises; however, we cannot help but notice how slowly the eight major economic powers are moving in honoring their AIDS commitment, repeated over a number of years. The G8 Summit of 2005 pledged $50 billion, or $12 billion per year, and nothing near that has been made available. For 2008, the Bush Administration has requested $300 million from Congress and the $850 million approved by a House of Representatives Committee. Neither figure is close to what should be the U.S. share based on the 2005 G8 commitment.
The General Board of Global Ministries is deeply involved in ministries aimed at preventing and treating AIDS in Africa. We also have programs that care for and educate children who have lost both parents to the disease.
Our first-hand experience with HIV and AIDS clearly shows the need for comprehensive, coordinated international work on behalf of governments, humanitarian agencies, and religious groups. The pandemic grows steadily worse. There is no time to lose. Pledges need to be translated into action, promises into funds by the G8 nations and all other responsible countries and organizations.
R. Randy Day
Date posted: Jun 19, 2007