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AIDS foundation to locate in Geneva

Many children were among the millions who became infected with HIV last year, especially in developing countries Keystone Archive

Geneva is to be the headquarters for the new Global Foundation to Fight AIDS. Switzerland plans to make an annual contribution to the foundation of $10 million (SFr16 million).

Geneva was chosen over Paris and Brussels at a meeting of the preliminary committee in the Belgian capital, according to Swiss Ambassador Bertrand Louis.

He added that Switzerland had supported the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) candidacy, while France had chosen the World Bank. The fact that both Switzerland and the WHO had given assurances on the independence of the funds has been to Geneva’s advantage.

To keep its independence, the headquarters will not be in the WHO building. Switzerland has made $600,000 available to cover the cost of equipping separate offices, which will be staffed by 30-40 people, said Louis.

Each country will make requests for financing and projects will be examined by the funds’ board of directors in Geneva.

The board of directors will be made up of seven members from donor countries and seven from developing countries. Switzerland will share its seat on the board with Great Britain and Canada.

Some $1.6 billion in donations have already been promised to the Funds, of which $200 million will come from the USA, $80 million from Great Britain and $50 million from France.

The Funds, created last July at the G8 summit in Genoa, have been set up to help reverse the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases. According to the UN, over 3 million people world-wide died from HIV/AIDS in 2000 and a further 5.3 million became infected with HIV.

swissinfo with agencies

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