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NEW YORK, 16 December 2004 – UNICEF programmes for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS will benefit from a 44 million pound ($85 million) contribution from the British government announced today.
“We are deeply grateful to the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) for providing 44 million pounds to UNICEF, for programmes to support children affected by AIDS,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said in a statement.
The contribution was announced by DFID Secretary of State Hilary Benn and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Gareth Thomas on the eve of the Global Partners Forum on Orphans and Vulnerable Children Living in a World with HIV and AIDS, co-hosted by UNICEF and the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
The DFID funds will help UNICEF respond even more effectively to the needs of children whose lives have been so cruelly disrupted by the global AIDS emergency. “The scale of the funding, intended for use over three years, sends a powerful message of support for UNICEF’s mandate to respond to children affected by HIV/AIDS, and to children in general,” Bellamy said.
Bellamy emphasized UNICEF’s appreciation of the strong leadership and commitment of the UK Government to make fighting HIV/AIDS a major issue on their government’s agenda, especially now that the United Kingdom is set to take up the presidencies of both the G8 and the European Union.
“Our thanks also go to the British public, whose visible support has made the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic a top priority for their government. We urge the UK Government to use its 2005 leadership position in the G8 and EU to promote significant and tangible commitments from other donors to target specifically the needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS,” she said.
UNICEF will use the DFID monies to assist children affected by HIV and AIDS, including orphans and children infected with the HIV virus itself, the majority of whom die before the age of five because of lack of care and treatment.
UNICEF intends to dramatically extend its programmes designed to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to children, as well as programmes to keep mothers alive and to prevent new infections.