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U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Tells GlobalPost State Department Reviewing Nearly $1.5B In Unused PEPFAR Funding

Prompted by an inquiry from GlobalPost, U.S. officials have said the Obama administration called for a $550 million reduction — an 11 percent cut — for its global AIDS program in its FY 2013 budget request because the “government didn’t need more money because there has been nearly $1.5 billion stuck in the pipeline for 18 months or more,” GlobalPost reports. According to the news service, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, headed by Ambassador Eric Goosby, “said this week it will immediately start a consultation period with Congress, its partners across the U.S. government and AIDS advocates to address a key question: What should they do with $1.46 billion?” GlobalPost reports that Goosby “explained that $1.46 billion designated to fight AIDS hasn’t been used because of inefficient bureaucracies; major reductions in the cost of AIDS treatment; delays due to long negotiations on realigning programs with recipient country priorities; and a slowdown in a few countries because the AIDS problem was much smaller than originally estimated” (Donnelly, 4/17).

In an interview with the news service, Goosby discussed the administration’s FY13 budget request, why the backup of money is larger in some countries — including Kenya, Ethiopia and Mozambique — and how his office is moving forward to fulfill existing commitments with partner countries. “What we’re doing is defining what money is available, and what’s left are our resources that we will put back into AIDS-free generation type activities — things that will not require continued year funding, could be a one-time funding effort,” Goosby said (Donnelly, 4/18). On Tuesday, State Department officials provided GlobalPost with broad internal guidelines drawn up to determine how the money will be spent. According to the guidelines, “PEPFAR will consult with key stakeholders to refocus country teams’ investments of the $1.46 billion toward three major areas in which PEPFAR already has large investments and a track record of success,” including investing in commodities, such as condoms and HIV rapid test kits; investing in systems and institutions and strengthening country efforts in these areas; and investing in program strengthening for greater impact (Donnelly, 4/18).