The European HIV/AIDS Funders Group (EFG), Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA), supported by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV (UNAIDS), released new reports today on HIV/AIDS-related funding from US and European philanthropic donors. The reports show that while total funding decreased slightly (by 2%), most philanthropic donors increased commitments to the AIDS response in 2009.
HIV/AIDS-related funding from European and US philanthropic donors was USD 738 million in 2009, a slight decrease from USD 752 million the previous year. The findings are being released amidst a continued economic recession, flat or declining funding from governments, and a growing need for increased HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
Overall funding from European-based philanthropies increased significantly, reaching over €120 million (USD 152 million) in 2009, compared to €91 million in 2008. Expenditures increased by 25% in 2009 compared with 2008 among the same set of European HIV/AIDS funders, an unprecedented increase despite the current fiscal constraints.
The total given by US-based philanthropies decreased from USD 618 million in 2008 to USD 585 million in 2009, a reduction of 5% and the first decrease on record since FCAA began tracking disbursements in 2005. Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which represented 57% of all US-based philanthropic HIV/AIDS-related funding in 2009, decreased to $334 million in 2009 from $378 million in 2008, while disbursements from all other funders increased from $237 million to $252 million (or 5%) from 2008 to 2009.
FCAA and EFG, joined by UNAIDS, commend the achievements of private donors who increased their support in 2009, but express concerns about any decrease in funding.
“As the economy rebounds we hope that philanthropies will continue to expand their investments in the AIDS response,” said Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director, Programme, UNAIDS. “Investments on AIDS are starting to bear fruit as fewer people are becoming infected and with increased availability of treatment, fewer people are dying—evidence that AIDS is a smart and proven investment that will reduce costs in the long term.”
According to a report released by UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation in July, donor government funding for HIV/AIDS, which represents a much larger share of global resources for HIV/AIDS than the philanthropic sector, was also essentially flat, decreasing from $7.7 billion in 2008 to $7.6 billion in 2009.
“Because private funding represents a relatively small percentage of resources for HIV when compared with other larger public sources, philanthropy must exercise its unique advocacy and leadership roles in holding governments accountable, and leveraging public funds to provide an adequate response to HIV,” said John Barnes, Executive Director of FCAA.
The rapid and unprecedented increase in financial support for HIV in previous years has saved and prolonged millions of lives, reversed years of declines in average life expectancy in many nations, and reinstilled hope in individuals and communities. Decreases in funding now could stop or reverse that hard-won progress.
“Philanthropy can make a significant impact, especially in times like these,” said Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and EFG Chair. “Increased commitment, engagement, and financial support from private philanthropic donors can send a strong message about leadership and commitment in the fight against HIV.”
OTHER KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:
· In both the US and Europe, HIV/AIDS-related philanthropic funding remained concentrated among a relatively small number of funders in 2009, with the top 10 funders (ranked by total expenditures) accounting for 83% of all HIV/AIDS-related expenditures in both regions.
· The majority of funding by both US and European-based philanthropies in 2009 was directed to addressing the epidemic outside of these regions (81% of all US and 65% of all European HIV/AIDS-related philanthropic expenditures).
· Projections by US-based funders for 2010 suggest that HIV/AIDS-related funding will decrease, with 33% of funders forecasting anticipated decreases for 2010, including the top funder, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which represented over half of all US philanthropic disbursements in 2009. Among European-based funders, projections suggest that HIV/AIDS-related philanthropy funding levels may increase, with 38% of funders forecasting anticipated increases for 2010, including six of the top ten funders.