Monday, May 14, 2001
Volume 37, Issue 19; ISSN: 0511-4187
Remarks following discussions with President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
George W Bush
� May 11, 2001
� Global Fund To Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis
� President Bush. It is my honor to welcome our friend, the President
Washington, the Rose Garden. And of course, Kofi Annan, the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Secretary-General,
thank you for coming.
� As well, we are joined by two members of my Cabinet: Secretary of
State Powell, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson.
I want to thank them both for being here. Scott Evertz, who is the
Director of the National AIDS Policy Office is with us. Scott, thank
you for being here. And of course, Condoleezza Rice, the National
� I am looking forward to meeting with the President on a range of
issues that are important to our nations. This morning, we've spoken
about another matter that involves countless lives. Together, we've
been discussing a strategy to halt the spread of AIDS and other
infectious diseases across the African continent and across the
� The devastation across the globe left by AIDS, malaria,
tuberculosis, the sheer number of those infected and dying is almost
especially great. AIDS alone has left at least 11 million orphans in
sub-Sahara Africa. In several African countries, as many as half of
today's 15year-olds could die of AIDS. In a part of the world where
so many have suffered from war and want and famine, these latest
tribulations are the cruelest of fates.
� We have the power to help. The United States is committed to
working with other nations to reduce suffering and to spare lives,
and working together is the key. Only through sustained and focused
international cooperation can we address problems so grave and
suffering so great.
� My guests today have been doing their part and more, and I thank
them for their leadership. President Obasanjo last month led the
nations of Africa in drafting the Abuja declaration which lays out
crucial guidelines for the international effort we all envision.
Secretary-General Annan, too, has made this issue an urgent
priority. He has been an eloquent voice in rallying the resources
and conviction needed in this cause. When he visited the White House
in March, we talked about the AIDS pandemic. We agreed on the goal
tuberculosis. The G-8 has been discussing the potential fund.
� Our high-level task force chaired by Secretaries Powell and
Thompson has developed a proposal that we have shared with U.N.
officials, developing nations, and our G-8 partners. We will need
ideas from all sources. We must all show leadership and all share
� For our part, I am today committing the United States of America to
support a new worldwide fund with a founding contribution of $200
million. This is in addition to the billions we spend on research
and to the $760 million we're spending this year to help the
international effort to fight AIDS. This $200 million will go
exclusively to a global fund, with more to follow as we learn where
our support can be most effective.
� Based on this morning's meetings I believe a consensus is forming
on the basic elements that must shape the global fund and its use.
First, we agree on the need for partnerships across borders and
among both the public and private sectors. We must call upon the
that not only governments can help but also private corporations,
foundations, faith-based groups, and nongovernmental organizations,
� Second, we agree on an integrated approach that emphasizes
prevention and training of medical personnel as well as treatment
and care. Prevention is indispensable to any strategy of controlling
a pandemic such as we now face.
� Third, we must concentrate our efforts on programs that work,
proven best practices. Whenever the global fund supports any health
program, we must know that it meets certain essential criteria. We
must know that the money is well spent, victims are well cared for,
and local populations are well served.
� That leads to the fourth criterion, namely that all proposals must
be reviewed for effectiveness by medical and public health experts.
Addressing a plague of this magnitude requires scientific
accountability to ensure results.
lifesaving medicines that combat diseases. That's why we believe the
fund must respect intellectual property rights, as an incentive for
vital research and development.
� This morning we have made a good beginning. I expect the upcoming
U.N. Special Session and this summer's G-8 summit in Italy to turn
these ideas into reality. This is one of those moments that reminds
us all in public service why we're here. It challenges us to act
wisely and act together and to act quickly. Across the world at this
moment, there are people in true desperation, and we must help.
� It is now my honor to bring to the podium, the President of
Nigeria. Mr. President.
� President Obasanjo. Mr. President, Secretary-General of the U.N. I
am particularly grateful to you, President Bush, for making this
ceremony to coincide with my visit to you here at the White House in
Washington, DC, on your very kind invitation.
� When African leaders gathered in Abuja, 2 weeks ago, to indicate
related diseases, the joint message of the Secretary of State and
the Secretary of Health was brought to us as a message of hope from
the United States of America. Today, Mr. President, you have begun
to concreteize that hope for Africa and particularly for millions of
Africans infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
� We are still far from the $7 billion to $8 billion annually that
experts reckon will be needed to make impression on the ravaging
effects of this dreadful scourge. But with this beginning, and just
the beginning as you have kindly emphasized, for the U.S., all
nations, governments, foundations, private individuals, and private
sector and, indeed, all human kind who are stakeholders in the
health of humanity are challenged and called upon to make
contributions to the global trust fund for HIV/AIDS and related
� Mr. President, I thank you, on behalf of all AIDS sufferers in the
world, but particularly on behalf of all AIDS sufferers in Africa,
for launching the global fight against HIV/ AIDS pandemic.
� Secretary-General Annan. President Bush, President Obasanjo. I wish
to thank you, President Bush, for committing yourself today to
placing the United States at the forefront of the global fight
against HIV/AIDS. It is a visionary decision that reflects your
Nation's natural leadership in the United Nations, as well as your
recognition of the threat posed by this global catastrophe.
� To defeat this epidemic that haunts humanity and to give hope to
the millions infected with the virus, we need a response that
matches the challenge. We should now build on the remarkable
progress over the last year in galvanizing global awareness of the
threat of HIV/AIDS.
� I believe we can all agree on five key objectives for our response:
First, to ensure that people everywhere, particularly young people,
know what to do to avoid infection; second, to stop perhaps the most
tragic form of HIV transmission, from mother to child; third, to
provide treatment for all those infected; fourth, to redouble the
whose lives have been devastated by AIDS, particularly the orphans,
and there are an estimated 13 million of them worldwide today, and
their numbers are growing.
� As we declare global war on AIDS, we will need a war chest to fight
it. We need to mobilize an additional $7 million to $10 million a
year to fight this disease worldwide. The global AIDS and health
fund that I have called for as part of this total effort would be
open to the nations, as you heard from the two Presidents, from
governments, civil society, private sector, foundations, and
individuals-all hands on deck. And the resources provided must be
over and above what is being spent today on the disease and on
development assistance to poor countries.
� This founding contribution by the U.S. with the promise to do more
will encourage or energize others to act. Africa, of course, is the
continent that is most profoundly affected by the spread of
HIV/AIDS, and the continent most in need of hope for a better
challenge, as President Obasanjo showed most recently by hosting the
Abuja AIDS Summit. However, we must not forget that other parts of
the world, from the Caribbean to Asia to eastern Europe, are also
confronting the spread of this virus and need urgent assistance.
� Mr. President, it is my hope that your commitment today will set an
example for other leaders. When we meet at the General Assembly
Special Session on HIV/AIDS on the 25th of June in New York City,
there will be a strong support for the global AIDS and health fund.
As that happens, I believe today will be remembered as the day we
began to turn the tide.
� Thank you very much.
� President Bush. It has been my honor to host this very important
announcement. It's also my honor to recognize two Members of the
United States Congress who are going to work with this
administration to make sure that our commitment becomes reality:
Senator Frist and Senator Leahy. We're so thrilled you're here. We
appreciate your vision, and we appreciate your leadership.
� NOTE: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the