Toronto – The World AIDS Campaign (WAC) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) delivered a letter to PM Stephen Harper ahead of the G8/G20 summit highlighting the failure of the G8 to live up to its foreign aid promises and demanding a new costed, time bound plan to deliver universal access to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support.
The letter and accompanying petitions were delivered to PM Harper as the host of this year’s G8 summit, calling upon him to show leadership in ensuring that earlier promises to combat the global epidemic are not abandoned or watered down in the face of the financial crisis.
“The G8 committed to achieving ‘as close as possible’ to universal access to HIV treatment by the end of 2010 at the 2005 Gleneagles summit; that commitment is still far from being met. More than 9 million still need access to antiretroviral drugs, dwarfing the 4 million people currently in treatment” said Paul Moist, CUPE National President. “33 million people are living with HIV today and nearly 3 million people are newly infected each year.” He added.
Early signs indicate that the failure to reach the target of universal access will not be discussed at this year’s summit. UK newspaper The Guardian reported on 4 June that France and Italy in particular are a long way from meeting their development commitments. A leaked draft communiqué makes no mention of the 2005 development commitments, likely as a result of their lobbying efforts.
WAC and CUPE’s letter is supported by 10,000 individuals and more than 80 organizations playing a key role in the AIDS response. Both CUPE and WAC oversaw the gathering of signatures, as part of their contribution to a global G8 campaign on universal access, which also made contact with Canadian embassies in 42 countries calling on PM Harper and the G8 summit to develop a new plan for meeting universal access goals before the 2015 MDG review.
The signatories of the petition will now be enlisted to join future actions for the building of public support for this purpose, especially through country-level implementation of the G8’s universal access goals.
Marcel van Soest, Executive Director of World AIDS Campaign said that the current global economic climate makes the actions by CUPE and WAC vital. “2010 is critical to remind leaders that they can not afford to back track on HIV – promises must be kept now.”