Please support colleagues in Denmark by signing on here – note that organisational signatures to the letter are sought. 

Denmark – together with partner countries has gender as a key focus area and work to improve women’s legal rights and ensure that they are not worse off politically or economically than men.

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As you may have heard, last week the Danish government announced a new Fiscal Act that would decrease Denmark’s Official development assistance (ODA) from 0.87% of GFP to 0.7%.

For many years, Denmark has been a leader in ODA and a substantial supporter of the Global Fund and the HIV/AIDS response. The proposed cuts however have a dramatic impact on both.

This is a dangerous precedent that sends a negative signal to other countries in the immediate aftermath of the signing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ambition of ending the epidemics that they represent.

Please show your support and add your organisational support by signature to the attached letter below before 17:00hrs ET on Monday 19th October 2015.

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FULL TEXT OF LETTER 
October 21st 2015

OPEN LETTER FROM CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE WORLD TO:

His Excellency, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen of Denmark
stm@stm.dk

Your Excellency,

At the end of September, world leaders gathered in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, the global goals which will guide the world’s efforts in development through 2030. Under the Health Goals “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and an explicit sub-goal: “By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases”.All countries agreed to implement this plan and pledged that no one will be left behind. Denmark has played an important role in negotiating the equality-oriented SDGs and is seen as a leader in the AIDS response due to its commitment to human rights.

We are shocked to learn that at the same time your government agreed to implement the SDGs, it announced that it has prepared a finance act that proposes dramatic cuts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

We understand that this includes a planned yearly cut of 65 million DK to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2015 and 2016 (almost $20 million USD), despite the promises made by the Danish Prime Minister and Nordic heads of state during US President Obama’s 2013 visit to Stockholm and the pledge made at the Global Fund Replenishment meeting in 2013. The Global Fund is the mechanism through which more than 8 million people have accessed life-saving HIV medicine over the last decade. It provides preventative treatment so that women living with HIV can have HIV-negative babies, and it supports prevention and harm reduction services to underserved populations. Your government is putting these gains at risk and letting people down.

On top of this you propose to end your contributions to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, one of the leading organizations in the civil society response to HIV, and reduce the CISU funds (Civilsamfund I Udvikling – Civil Society in Development) available to Danish NGOs to implement HIV/AIDS prevention projects in partnership with civil society in the Global South. Also, in the future you plan to end funding for two major HIV prevention initiatives; the International Partnership for Microbicides and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative that advance scientific research in microbicides and AIDS vaccines. In addition, you propose to decrease the contribution to UNAIDS, and your bilateral support to HIV/AIDS and health programs in high prevalence countries is being phased out.

These cuts are in sharp contrast to what global leaders called for in New York: accelerated action and enhanced financial investments to fast-track the end of the AIDS epidemic. What keeps us from achieving this historic opportunity is an annual funding gap of US$ 12 billion. Maintenance levels of funding are not an optioncuts such as those being suggested in your finance act are devastating and may threaten gains from past investments. If we want to prevent a resurgence of the epidemic and use this limited window of opportunity in time to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat, we need more – not less – investments.

Ambitious investments now are required to ensure that no one is left behind. Increasingly the epidemic is about equity and human rights; young women, adolescents and already marginalized populations are bearing the biggest burden and see some of the highest rates of new infections.

Investing in the AIDS response is investing in maternal and child health, and in equality. It is also economically smart: earlier this year, the Lancet medical journal released a report suggesting that an ambitious scale-up in the fight against HIV/AIDS could generate benefits of US$1157 billion dollars between now and 2030.

We call on you to live up to the promises made to help meet the Sustainable Development Goals and reverse the cuts to HIV/AIDS and the Global Fund in the Finance Act.

Denmark was a leader in the fight against AIDS – we need your leadership now more than ever.

Signed,

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Please show your support and add your organisational support by signature to the attached letter below before 17:00hrs ET on Monday 19th October 2015.